Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cleanup Week

I am not sure about the rest of the world, but here we have an event called Cleanup Week.  This is the week where people place stuff on the boulevard to be disposed of for free.  Appliances, mattresses, furniture, clothes, and everything else ends up on the boulevard.  Many people like to take stuff that is still in good shape.

As you may guess, I am one of those people.  In the past, I have gotten yarned clothes hangers, flower pots, dying plants (now revived), and other small items.  This year, in one day walking home from work, I got a wooden folding clothes dryer (to hang clothes on), a rain poncho still in its packaging, wood glue, carabiner clips, a nearly new soldering iron, solder, a repairable collapsible lawn chair, and a todo/list-making whiteboard.  I was going to use a little chair I found in good shape but really had no place to use it.  We have too much clutter as it is, so I must not bring home unusable items.  I left it on our boulevard in a way that would be easy for someone else to take.  The next day, I also got some empty CD cases.

Some people are not friendly to the idea of people using their tossed items.  They will cut off cords on appliances, smash up the items, etc.  I find this approach wasteful.  So much ends up in the landfill as it is.  If it is still usable, why not let others use it?  That is one thing I have learned to enjoy about being frugal, it is efficient and environment-friendly as well.

I'm so excited to have a laundry hanger now.  I have seen them in stores for $20 or so.  This one is a little worn, but perfectly functional.  It will save me additional money but me using a dryer less.  I will use less electricity (i.e. coal) and my clothes will last longer.

I apologize for my absence, but I have been terribly busy.  Other frugal activities as of late include walking/biking as transportation, free coffee with my gas station mug, and cabbage roll casserole.  I will have to post that recipe up as it is frugal and uses whole foods.  We have turned off our furnace for the winter but it has gotten chilly here.  So I wear sweaters and drink coffee and tea to keep warm.    I have also been entertaining myself with at-home movies, my used copy of Little Women, biking, and visiting friends.  I have spent some money eating out but for small purchases.  However, I must hunker down and save more money.  I have goals for this summer.  Things must be attended to.

Oh, on a side note, being in a positive mood is probably one of the most frugal things I can do.  I don't comfort eat, am grateful for what I have, and enjoy the simple things in life.  I stay healthier and am more productive.

Well, that is all for now.  <3

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday's Frugal Musings

I should probably post frugal things I do day-to-day.  I have not had a chance to write my recreation post. 

I've been using my bike as transportation.  It saves me time and allows me to multi-task with transportation and exercise.  My legs have gotten pretty strong and firm, especially since I started bike riding last year.

To tighten my food budget more, I got dried pinto beans and brown rice.  I paid $1.03 for a pound of beans and $0.95 for a pound of rice.  A pound of dried beans makes 6 cups of cooked beans.  One cup of white rice makes three cooked, though I'm not sure if the measurement is true for brown rice.

I like to soak the beans for at least a few hours, if not overnight.  I either slow cook them or cook them in a pot for about an hour or so.  I follow the Pioneer Woman's recipe, though I didn't use bacon this time.

Also, I found out that brown rice does not keep like white rice.  The oils in the bran makes it so that it is only good for 6 months.  More bean information can be found here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ground Turkey Chili for People Who Hate Ground Turkey

Below is a recipe courtesy of Beeks at Recipezaar.  I found this quite a while ago while trying to find more ground turkey recipes.  I've been making the switch to more ground turkey after I discovered it in the frozen section.  The lower price was what first appealed to me. 

After using it, seeing the decrease in fat made me want to use it all the more.  While I like the taste of ground turkey and would easily use it anywhere I'd use ground beef, my roomies are a little more selective.  They also don't like things too spicy so this is a good chili for others like that and kids.  In parentheses are my changes and notes.

I have other reasons than the ground turkey to place it here.  The other ingredients used are under a dollar a piece as measured.  It does not depend on vegetables being in season.  By buying various seasonings, I can make all kinds of seasoning blends without cornstarch, MSG, etc. for a cheaper price.  You could make this even more frugal if you cooked up a 1/3 lbs. of dried kidney beans.  Though, please cook dried beans thoroughly, undercooked kidney beans have a high concentration of a certain legume toxin.

It is one of my quick recipes for when I'm in a crunch for time.  I can thaw my turkey and deal with my seasonings and cans as I wait.  As they say, time is money.  Sometimes when being frugal, that means one plans more and takes more time to save money.  Sometimes, it also means doing what you can to save time.


Ground Turkey Chili For People Who Hate Ground Turkey Recipe #79308

I totally hated ground turkey until I tried this recipe. People don't even know ground turkey is in it; until you tell them;so don't.This chili is mild so any one can eat it.
by Beeks
40 min | 10 min prep
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey  (I use 1 lbs. since that's the only size I can get.)
  • 1 onion, chopped (Not having this matters much.)
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (Roomies don't like pepper, I sub a can of corn for this.)
  • 1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, undrained 
  • 1 (16 ounce) can stewed tomatoes (I use petite diced, I believe diced and crushed tomatoes would be just fine.)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder  (I get this in the dollar aisle.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (I get this in the dollar aisle.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (I get this in the dollar aisle.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (I get this in bulk.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (I get this in the dollar aisle.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I get this in the dollar aisle.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt  (I get this in bulk.)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups water (I drain corn water into my measuring cup for part of this.)
  1. Over medium heat spray a large dutch oven with non stick cooking spray.
  2. Saute ground turkey, green pepper, and onion until lightly browned and onion and pepper are soft.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients plus the water and stir well.
  4. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Welcome to Frugal Bits and Bytes!  The purpose of this blog is to share and save frugal ideas.  Sometimes I find them online or in books.  Other times, I learn them from friends or figure it out myself.

All my life, I have been one to not spend or take up much for resources.  I never felt entitled to fancy clothes or cars growing up and was just happy with what I got.  When I went on to college, I still lived pretty simply.  I preferred walking, biking, or taking the bus places.  I didn't throw out clothes needlessly or shop a lot.  However, over time, I felt more and more a need to be frugal.  I needed to be able to save money.  I had debt that must be dealt with. 

I still need to be frugal, however, I have gained a desire to be frugal.  Frugality has become a central part of my life philosophy.  It reduces waste by reusing stuff and with repair.  It increases self-reliance and self-esteem by taking care of yourself more.  It lessens the focus on materialism, allowing one to focus on more important things in life (love, family, friends, etc.).

So, to start this blog up, I will share my current ways of being frugal.

+  Cooking.  Cooking for myself and my roomies saves money.  I also give gifts of food to loved ones.  By using less processed ingredients, I save money in the long run in regard to health costs.  Also, many less processed food is frugal.  In season fruits and vegetables, rice, beans,eggs, and potatoes are good examples.  Regular sales help me out with meats, cheese, and other items.  I do have my splurges with cooking.  These include butter, wheat bread, whole grain pasta, and cumin.  I like to saute with butter, wheat bread and pasta are healthier and less starchy, and I use cumin to make taco and chili seasoning.  I like to make seasoning, sauces, and gravies from scratch to avoid chemicals and such.

+  Clothing.  I do not throw out clothes very easily.  If anything, I probably hoard them a bit much.  When I do get clothes, I buy them at thrift stores, rummage sales, and get them for free when people don't want them anymore.  It can be a struggle for me as I'm somewhat disproportionate.  I would love to wear more dresses.  I generally wear dress pants and a blouse or sweater during the day and sweats and a t-shirt or sweatshirt at night and on weekends.  I used to wear jeans a lot more but only now have gotten so I fit them again.  I also love long flowing skirts in the summer, though bike riding is a little more of a challenge then.  I dress for comfort and easy care.  I am not above sewing holey socks, repairing shoes, or dying stained blouses and purses. 

+  Transportation.  I do own a used car.  The last owner took very good care of it as do I.  It does not give me problems and still looks very nice though it's 15 years old.  I just got a winter parking ticket on it as I forgot to move it last night (not frugal at all!).  That upsets me as I have went all winter without getting one and I only had 3 more weeks to worry about it.  I usually walk, bike, or use the bus.  I do not wish to pay extra for parking and I live in a good location.  I live about 5 blocks from work and school.  I'm half a block away from a grocery store, auto parts store, laundry mat (don't use it), and a gas station. 
Now that it's spring, I will ride my bike as much as possible.  Rummage sales will be starting back up as well.  I've had my bike for a decade and never changed a tire or chain.  A little bit of air each spring and I'm off.  It's a cheap form of exercise and my best way to relieve stress.  I feel fast and graceful on my bike.

So, I'd say those are my primary areas of frugality.  It's still a challenge for me to be frugal with food as the prices seem to keep rising and I've gotten more concerned about my health.  As time goes on, I will share more frugal ideas.  My next post will be about a quite frugal recreation idea for many, depending on where you live.