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Frugal Living Tips, Issue #018
August 01, 2010

Welcome to August's Frugal Living Tips newsletter.

Hope you have had a great money saving month so far. I must admit that during the summer months the temptation to buy treats when out and about is rather hard to resist especially when its hot and the ice cream van beckons. But hey we're all allowed a treat now and again.

The web site has been busy this month with many new visitors sending in their frugal tips and advice, it really is turning into a real frugal sharing community. Don't forget to drop buy and share your thoughts too, whether it be a recipe, frugal tip or even a question all are welcome.

Enjoy this months newsletter and come by and visit us at Frugal Living Tips Soon.

Till next month

Best Wishes Kate

 

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CONTENTS

1. Recipe - Pinto Beans that even your 6 year old will eat!

2. Eco-tip: How To Save Fuel

3. Tip of The Month - Homemade Spice Rack/Cabinet organizer

4. Coupons. - Money Off Coupons

5 Article - Cheap Thrills

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1. Recipe - Pinto Beans that even your 6 year old will eat!

by by Angela Scott (Alliance, NE USA)

pinto beans picture by Oquendo on flickr.com
picture by Oquendo on flickr.com

4-5c. dry pinto beans, sorted through and rinsed
4T. bacon drippings
3T. baking soda
water for soaking and cooking
2 sticks of butter or margarine
salt to taste

After sorting your beans, rinse them and place them in a large bowl. Cover them with water and add extra because the beans will absorb it. Mix the baking soda into the water and soak overnight. I usually put my beans on to soak after lunch the day before so that the will completely re hydrate.

The next morning drain and rinse the beans and place them in your slow cooker with water covering them about 2 inches over the top of the beans. Add your bacon drippings or if you have bacon you need to use up you can add that instead, it just depends on what you have. I have made these with no bacon or drippings and they were still good.

Cook on high all day until the beans turn a reddish brown color and the juice gets darker. Then add margarine or butter and let it boil in there until it's melted. Stir and then add salt to taste.

I make a pot every wednesday and am able to turn it into several meals during the week. My boys will add ketchup and cheese to a bowl one day, then we will make burritos the next couple of days. Sometimes I add converted rice to the leftovers and season it with cajun seasoning for cajun beans and rice.

You can make chili. Beans are one of the cheapest most versatile foods you can cook with. Doing this has saved our family a ton on groceries and all four of my kids and my husband are happy because they get to kind of decide what they want to eat during the week.

I store them right in the slow cooker and place them in the fridge when I won't be using them, then warm them up on low when I need them (anything hotter and you will end up with mush!)

Serve them with corn of any kind and you have a perfect protein.

More Frugal recipes

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2. Eco-tip: How To Save Fuel

  • Drive consistently without having to start and stop all the time. Look ahead at the traffic and moderate your speed so that you are always moving. You use more fuel every time you have to pull away.

  • Driving fast uses more fuel, so unless you are on the highway keep the speed down.

  • Use cruise control if you have it. It was designed to be fuel economical.

  • Never leave the car idling. If waiting for someone, turn off the engine, you are just wasting fuel.

  • Travel at less congested times. This will reduce the amount of times you have to stop and start.

More Frugal Fuel Saving Tips

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3. Tip Of the Month - Homemade Spice Rack/Cabinet organizer

Sent in by by Amy Haas (Guthrie, OK)

Site Build It!

Sometimes to save money, you just have to be creative and think outside the box. Repurposing and recycling items for things other than their intended use is sometimes a great way to save money.

I got this idea the other day when I was in Bed Bath and Beyond. I have been having a major issue with all my spices. I bought a spice rack several months ago, but it just isn’t big enough. It holds my most popular spices, but what do I do with the rest? Well, they get stuffed in my cabinets and then when I need them I literally have to take them out one by one until I find what I need. It is time consuming and frustrating, especially when I have limited cabinet space and no other real options. Anyway, I stumbled upon some cabinet organizers at the store that were $5.99 and that is when I had my brilliant idea :).

Instructions for your very own homemade spice rack/cabinet organizer.

Supplies:

3 cereal boxes
scissors
tape

1. Cut the first cereal box in half.
2. Fit the two pieces inside one another so you have a smaller box with four sides.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the next box. This tier will need to be smaller than the previous so make adjustments as you cut it.
4 Next stack the box tiers. Largest on bottom and tape them together.
5. Voila! You just saved $5.99!

This worked great. Plus, the tiers are larger than the store bought version so you can put more spices on them and they are easier to see. Don’t worry about what the cereal boxes look like. You can’t even tell they are cereal boxes once you have your spices on them.

More Frugal Tips

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4. Free Downloadable Coupons

These are just some of the coupons you can download for free this month. Click on the image to see the full range available. Please use Internet explorer to view coupons.

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5.

Cheap Thrills
by Jennifer Beam

article from Dollar Stretcher
Site Build It! 

With today's economy being what it is, many families have two working parents and, as a result, more to do than time to do it in. Besides being crunched for time, family activities can be cut short due to the costs involved. Family-friendly events such as Disney on Ice, the circus, and even local carnivals can rack up a hefty bill for just one day of fun. These types of events seem to blindly suck you dry as you spend two dollars on a hot dog and five dollars on a snow cone on top of parking, admission and souvenirs. Still, families are looking for rewarding, not costly, ways to enjoy recreation and reconnect at the end of a busy week. When you compare the larger picture, there are more cost-effective ways of funding family outings.

The Season Pass

Amusement parks, zoos, water parks, and recreational facilities all offer season passes. Often, the initial cost is what scares people off. But when you compare the price of one day's admission for each person, you will discover that most family passes pay for themselves in one to two visits. Another benefit is not feeling the need to see and do everything offered in a single visit. Not to mention, when you are feeling hungry, you can leave and avoid the concession stand mark ups, all the while knowing you can come back anytime. Consider this option only if you are certain it is feasible to visit several times each year to get more than your money's worth. Simply switch attractions each year and you've got a low-cost pass to recreational freedom for months and months to come.

Silver Screen, Depleting Green


 

First run movies are expensive. The average cost is $8 a ticket. Do the math and ask yourself if it's worth $32 (or more) for your family to enjoy a two-hour outing. And that's the generous estimate that assumes you're smuggling your favorite candy or snack into the theater against policy. What does it hurt to wait until the movie reaches the second-run theaters that only charge a couple of bucks per seat? Remember that you could be at the zoo while all the other families are waiting in line for tickets to opening weekend of the next Harry Potter flick.

Free Parking

If you don't already, subscribe to your local parks and recreation departments' event guides. Include surrounding cities and counties. There are year-round events listed with nominal or no charges. Residents usually pay lower rates than non-residents so always utilize the options at your local parks first, then branch out. Examples of outings often available through parks and recreation include ice skating, horseback riding, frisbee golf, sledding, arts and crafts, and many other family-friendly go and do ideas. Again, consider family passes for those facilities that you may attend more frequently.

Athletic Superiority

If sporting events are your bag but general admission seating to professional teams is out of reach, investigate your options. Is there a minor league baseball team nearby or a high school football team that's having a good season? Minor league baseball is sweeping some areas of the nation as a superior family outing. For as little as five bucks, you can purchase a lawn seat ticket and take in a full nine innings of America's favorite pass time. It never seems to matter much to kids if they aren't watching the guy on the Pepsi commercial play as long as they're having fun with the family.

If these ideas haven't inspired your imagination, or at least your wallet, then it's definitely time to reconsider your free time activities together as a family. As the saying goes, "The family that plays together, stays together," and playing this way, maybe you'll find you can afford retirement and college tuition one day.

Jennifer Beam is a freelance writer and editor of American Kids Parenting Magazine, a local parenting resource in the Miami Valley Region of Ohio.

 

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