Category: Green Living

TMR Frugal Living Tip #80

Today’s frugal living tip is to reuse those coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and vegetable/fruit peelings. Yep I drink coffee and tea on a daily basis so I take the grounds, and work them directly into the soil around my plants. Of course you can also throw them in a compost pile. I take rinsed eggshells and crush them before mixing into the soil. I also compost. You can either compost vegetable/fruit peelings or just dig small holes into your garden. I dig them in a few inches and let them rot until it’s time to till the soil. I love just digging small piles directly into the garden as I don’t have to deal with a compost pile this way. My soil still benefits and it gets worked into the whole garden plot twice a year. Not everyone is keen on the idea of having a compost pile so here is another alternative way to reduce waste, but it still helps your soil and plants thrive. The best part is that worms love the coffee grounds and seem to attract them. This is actually a positive as worms help to aerate the soil.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #76

Today’s thrifty living tip is to bring your own bags to the store. We know all it cuts down on plastic being used to make bags which is great for the environment. It also cuts down on the amount of trash in landfills. But did you know that you can stuff a lot of groceries in them? Not only that, but the majority of them have a reinforced bottom which is great for canned goods plus heavier items. Most people say they have a hard time remembering to bring them to the store. So what I’ve done is to keep them stored in my car side door. This way I always see them before I get out of my car. I have heard that some stores will give a discount for bringing your own. None around me do this, but you might be one of those lucky people. CVS has a key chain one that you can buy for 99 cents, and you will get a $1 ECB for every 4th purchase when you have it scanned. I’m even starting to bring bigger tote bag ones when I go to yard sales. I usually get the bigger ones for free at some stores I have shopped. Another great thing about them is you could make your own customized ones if you wanted to have more stylish bags. I feel that these bags are a great and inexpensive investment.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #75

Today’s thrifty living tip is use cloth napkins and dish towels over paper napkins and paper towels. This will save you lots of money over your life. I still use paper towels from time to time, but a super sized pack will last me for months. I usually buy one or two of those 8 roll packs on sale at CVS yearly. I have the same pack of napkins I got on sale over two years ago. I just rarely use them. I would much rather use my cloth napkins and towels.

I buy the dish towels on clearance and stock up. I make my own napkins by cutting out the size I need and serge the edges so it doesn’t ravel in the wash. These napkins will last for years. If it’s a big spill then I find the dish towel will clean up the spill quicker, and I don’t have to waste several paper towels. When they get to a point that I can’t use them in the kitchen, then they become cleaning towels. I really try to use them up as much as I can before discarding. We all know it’s better for the environment, but it’s also much better for my pocket book.

Are You Ready for the Winter Heating Blues?

Each year I say I’m going to get my house more energy efficient for winter, but I end up procrastinating and do nothing. Then when I open my heating bills I want to cry. This year I am going to make my house more efficient so I can stop dreading the heating bill. I have a 55 year old house that comes with the original windows and doors which can get drafty. I did take down my doors to re-stain them, and filled in all the tiny hairline cracks. We had a nice cold front but I couldn’t feel any wind coming through like usual. Here is what I’m doing this weekend.

1) I am hanging thermal lined curtains in my living room. I eventually want them in the bedrooms we sleep in.

2) Installing door sweeps for all three doors.

3) Installing foam weather stripping for the windows. I also will caulk around the outside window casings and door frames.

4) I made a door draft guard for all three doors. We only use one of them on a regular basis. I will only put it in front of the door at night.

I spent under $200 for everything including the curtains. That was my biggest expense since I needed 8 panels for my living room. I didn’t want to use caulk on the window sills since we live in a warmer climate. Our winters aren’t very harsh so there are days I want to be able to open the windows to let in any nice air. That’s another reason why we didn’t want to put plastic wrap on the windows. I should be able to save at least 20% off my heating bill just doing these simple steps.

There are lots of ways to winterize your house. I don’t have to wrap or insulate pipes since we don’t get hard freezes and most of the time it’s only a day or two at a time. I don’t have a furnace or boiler so I don’t need to clean it out or make sure it’s in good working condition. I have a forced air natural gas heater so it’s minimal maintenance. Our attic is already well insulated, and we don’t have basements in Louisiana. You need to consider your winterizing needs which will depend on how cold your area gets. There is a lot of great information on the internet. I hope I gave you a few tips to consider so you don’t cry when you open your heating bills this winter.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #71

Today’s thrifty living tip is decrease your amount of laundry. How do you ask? There are two simple tricks I use in my household. First is to use a towel more than once. We don’t use washcloths, but the towel that only dries hands can be used for a week. The same thing for the bath towel. I make sure to hang it so it will dry between uses. We also wear our pajamas for 2-3 nights before calling them dirty. I have 2 pairs that I rotate nightly so I only have to wash 2 each week. I don’t wear my pajamas all day and only for bed. I also don’t wash clothes that I only wore for an hour or two like dress clothes for church. Unless I got sweaty, there is no need to wash them since they aren’t dirty. This has helped cut down on the amount of laundry we do each week.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #70

Today’s thrifty living tip is make your own cleaners. You are literally pouring money down the drain along with caustic chemicals. I put vinegar in a small spray bottle to use for counters, the sink, and cutting boards. It disinfects and won’t hurt anyone if ingested including kids and pets. This would also be great for high chairs and cleaning kids toys. I also use vinegar in the toilet bowl and bathroom sinks. Vinegar makes a great fabric softener and disinfects my towels and sheets. To clean vinyl floors I again reach for vinegar. It cleans my floors well and the smell usually goes away within twenty minutes.

For my stove top, I make a paste of baking soda and water. Just be careful not to get it close to the burner openings. I let it sit for 20 minutes, and just remove with a cloth and warm water. I may have to use a little elbow grease on the burnt on stuff, but this usually loosens it up making it easy to clean. There are lots of great recipes on the internet so just google homemade cleaners.

Frugal vs Green

Lately I’m noticing a new trend. More people are turning to books or sites about frugal living or living more simply. Many of these same people also want to help the environment. You can actually do both. For centuries people have practiced both, and it’s only become more of a trend in the last few decades. I do find it funny how thrift was considered cheap, but being “green” is cool and hip. I love these new buzz words. Most of the frugal tips I practice daily, not only save me money, but they are good for the environment. I wrote an earlier article about Reduce, reuse, and recycling. All of these ideas save money and are good for the environment.

Many companies are also trying to cash in on being green and “All Natural”. Clorox has come out with a whole new line of natural cleaners. I don’t have a problem with companies using non-toxic ingredients. I think it’s great, but you will pay a lot more for them. If you really want all natural ingredients, then just make your own cleaners or use these ingredients to clean your house. I use baking soda and vinegar on a regular basis for all my cleaning. The bottom line is research many of these new cleaners, and you might be surprised by the actual ingredients. Lessen your use of energy and resources like water will also accomplish both goals. There are tons of ways to your reduce your consumption so I’m not going to list them. Many of these ideas are very old fashioned that have been practiced for generations.