Category: Frugal Living Tips

Stop Wasting Food & Get Organized!


I know I’m not the only one that finds long lost items hidden in their pantry or kitchen cabinets. I admit that I’ve done this more than I care to remember. Not only is it a waste of money, but it’s also a waste of time and precious space. I don’t have many cabinets so I definitely need to make the space I have count. What can you do to prevent this in the future? The best way is through good organization.

Yes this is a picture of my kitchen cabinet. I do have some convenience food, but I do make the majority of our meals from scratch. My husband and I actually just organized our cabinets this weekend. I was surprised that I didn’t have any expired food. I also store a good bit of our foods in Tupperware containers. It keeps them fresher longer, easier to store neatly, and I can see what’s inside. I got all of it quite cheaply on sale, and my mom sells it so I can get her discount. Some of these containers are almost a decade old and still look new. I don’t expect anyone to go out and buy Tupperware.

I put all my spices and baking items on the bottom shelf. I use this on a daily basis. You won’t see my sugar or flour because I keep it on my counter in canisters along with my rice. I also store my small amount of canned goods on the bottom shelf. The second shelf has all the snack foods and some of the boxed foods. The top is where I keep the taller containers like syrup, cooking oil, and such. I can see everything easily and food no longer goes to waste. I do keep extras of sale items on a bookshelf in my washroom. I just don’t have enough room to store all my food in the cabinet.

I challenge you to get your pantry/kitchen cabinets organized today! Start using that food, and stop wasting your money on food that goes bad before you can eat it. You will save lots of money and time in the future.

Feeling Overwhelmed with Vacation Plans

I posted earlier that we are going to Walt Disney World for a family vacation this year. The closer we approach our departure date, I must admit I’m feeling overwhelmed with the planning process. We are staying on grounds at the Port of Orleans French Quarter resort. With the current buy 4 nights and get 3 free promotion, we were able to stay at the more expensive resort for only a couple hundred more than a value. We are also getting 7 base Magic Your Way tickets for all 3 of us. This is a fantastic deal considering last year we would have spent almost as much for only 5 days at Pop Century in a standard room with base tickets for only 4 days. We are also going to fly and use the Magic Express service Disney offers.

This was the easy part for me. Now I’m getting overwhelmed with all the smaller details of making a daily ternary for each park. Not to mention, I need to figure out which day we will be going to the parks. I am finding all of this extremely stressful. I do have a couple of books and maps of the parks that a friend of mine is letting me use. I also frequent the DIS discussion boards which has been very helpful. I do love organizing and planning, but I find this process to be intimidating. I decided to just take it one step at a time with which rides we want to do, and which we don’t care about. We are planning on spending 2 days at Magic Kingdom since it’s so big and has the majority of the rides on our list. Luckily we are mostly eating at counter service places so I don’t have to worry about making reservations. We are definitely planning to eat at the T-Rex restaurant. My son is so excited and hitting the Lego store is also on the top of must do list at Disney. If anyone has any great tips, then I am definitely all ears (no pun intended).

TMR Frugal Living Tip #61

Today’s thrifty living tip is add a little water to your liquid hand soap. I don’t fill the pump container all the way to the top, and I add just a small amount of water. I don’t actually measure the water but just enough to thin it out. Then I shake well to help mix the water and soap.

I find most liquid hand soaps are pretty thick which gets wasted. This is especially true if you have small children. My mom uses baby shampoo as a hand soap, and she still puts a little water in the dispenser. I got my soap almost free with sales and coupons. I have used baby shampoo which does work and smell great.

Do you use this tip?

My New Garden!

One of the things I love most about living in South Louisiana is the long growing season. Our spring starts as early as February. The clover is already growing in my yard, the buds are forming, and it’s time to plant vegetables. I have had a vegetable garden before, but I never kept it up mostly due to time constraints or laziness on my part. This year I’m determined to keep it up more than a couple of months.

Many people try to start with too many rows or beds, or too many different types of vegetables or fruits. I’m starting out small this time. I have two long rows my husband tilled with a shovel. We have really great dirt in our yard. Then another complaint people have is either they don’t have a green thumb or the space to put a garden. Well not everyone is fortunate enough to have an acre of land. Start out with container plants. Almost everyone has space for a container of tomatoes or even herbs.

Now I have killed a couple of plants, but most of what I plant does quite well. I first started out by just planting mostly perennials around my house. Then a couple of years later, I planted a couple of wild blackberry bushes which have done extremely well. I say start out slowly, but also make sure what you are growing will do well in your area. Where you plant makes a huge difference. Don’t plant things that need full sun in mostly shady areas and vice versa. Make sure you know how much sun or shade that plant needs. Pretty much all vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of sun daily.

My husband tore down an extremely old shed last summer. It’s a nice open dirt patch with the fig tree behind it. I need to prune that tree back before it blooms too much. I thought that patch was the perfect spot to start my garden. We only tilled part of it, but I can always add more rows in the future. Then I amended the soil with bagged manure, peat moss, and my inlaws gave me free bagasse. This is a sugarcane by-product which is great for gardening. He got me the kind that was a couple of years old and very crumbly. It really looks like a mulch. I also sprinkled a small amount of triple 13 fertilizer. I mixed it up in the soil very well and let it sit for a couple of weeks. My husband made the mounds for me this past week, and I planted cucumbers and Roma tomatoes. I usually use the fertilizer initially on new beds, but I never add more. I also put a small amount since I do have good soil, and I put lots of other additions to my soil. I have started a compost pile so in the future I will add this to my garden. Below are some pictures.

My inlaws also gave us several Roma tomatoes he started from seeds. I decided to just throw some seeds in the ground and see what happens. I have a friend who does this with great success but you have to pinch the excess. I think one of the great things about gardening is experimenting with different methods. Most gardeners swear by using tomato transplants only in the garden, but I wanted to experiment with just planting the seeds directly in the ground. I also plan to keep notes so I can refer back to them from year to year. I do have plans to plant more fruit trees and bushes in the coming years. I just planted two blueberry bushes which are already doing fabulous. I spent $7 on each bush at my local nursery for a year old plants. They already have lots of blooms plus I see several new shoots. I will post more about how my garden is doing, and I am very excited in seeing the new life.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #60

Today’s thrifty tip is think about leveling your utility bills. It makes budgeting easier for me since I have an average of what my bill will be from month to month. I have to run our A/C often during the summer which spikes our electric bill. It was harder for us to come up with $200-250 for one month during the summer. Instead we pay an average of $100 per month. We use less electricity in the winter months since we our heater runs on natural gas. During the summer months my bill can go up to $110-120, and during the winter as cheap as $80. I budget $100 per month so in the months when it’s cheaper, I have extra for the more expensive summer months. I also have my natural gas bill leveled. I average $50 a month on that bill. I just level my water bill myself since they don’t offer that service. I average $40 per month on the water and it includes trash service. It just makes my life easier, and bill paying more predictable.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #59

Today’s thrifty living tip is declutter. Clutter makes your life unorganized, looks messy, and makes your life expensive. What I mean is if you can’t find that certain widget you know you own, then you waste time finding it. You might also buy another widget since you can’t find it. This happened to me last year at Thanksgiving. I couldn’t find a pastry cutter so I bought another one at the store for $5. I later found one that I couldn’t find so I now own two. I actually plan to use the one I already have, and have stored the other one in a place that I can now find it if I need it one day.

This happens very often to people. It’s money wasted as well as time. I try to declutter at least once a year. You can either sell or your stuff online like ebay, Craigslist, an ad in your local paper, or at a yard sale. I also like donating some of the clutter to my local church and women’s shelter. I usually don’t have enough stuff to justify a yard sale so I prefer to just give most of it away. This way I can help others in need.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #58

Today’s thrifty living tip is use baking soda for a nice soak. It makes your skin so soft and it’s really great for tired feet. I have even used it as a facial scrub. I find it to be gentle on your skin, but still be careful not to rub too hard. Actually baking soda has many great uses, and I will discuss more tips in the near future. What do you use to soak your tired achy feet?