Being Frugal is not Being Cheap, It’s Simple Living

For those of us who aren’t in the uppermost income bracket, we sometimes have to make choices about how we spend our money. Being frugal is not being “cheap,” it’s about making choices so that you have more of something else.

The Frugal Goddess explains the meaning of being frugal…

I have heard from a number of people that they just don’t like the word “frugal”. It seems to conjure up images of reusing tea bags and saving hundreds of empty boxes. But neither of these things are what frugality is really about. It is not cheapness or hoarding. Or even clipping coupons necessarily, though that would be frugal if you were going to buy that item anyhow and the coupon price really was the best deal.

The opposite of frugality is waste, not luxury. It is about getting the maximum out of available resources. For the poor frugality is a necessity. But that doesn’t mean it is only for the poor. In fact, being wasteful can make us poorer, and conserving our resources (frugality) can make us richer. Except for the new high tech millionaires every rich person you can name is either frugal or has an ancestor that was. The one who made the fortune.

The best model for frugality is nature herself. She wastes nothing, and yet is exquisitely abundant. And considering the shape the environment is in the new frugality is essential to restoring the balance of nature with the least pain to humankind.

Frugal is the new green.

So are you living a simple life and practicing frugality – not being wasteful of your resources?

Be a #Green Shopper on #Black #Friday – Shop Online

I had my first Black Friday 2010 experience this morning at 12:25 am at a Walmart in Wauseon, Ohio. The parking lot was full and then some. The entire town was dark except for the looming lights in the Walmart parking lot.

As my son and I approached the automatic doors to the monstrous million dollar store, I realized that I was 24 minutes too late to grab the 4 items I really wanted & make my claim in one of the check-out lines. The lines of carts snaked through all the main aisles and a few of the short grocery aisles. While other aisles were roped off and impassable even without a cart.

After winding through several dozen shoppers & finding dead ends to maneuver our way to where I thought those few items I wanted would be. We “Abandoned cart!” and our intentions. I found a friendly Walmart customer service agent and politely asked where I might find 2 of the 4 items I was looking for. He gazed up from his Black Friday ad, and pointed to one of the main aisles where the eye-catching red boxes were laid out; however, the crossing guard dressed Walmart employee said the Egyptian cotton towels were probably already sold out and taken to the back. He didn’t know about the other item.

Alas, my son and I squeezed back through the main aisles of scant filled carts and early morning shoppers to the EXIT and leave the store for the night.

Our 15 minutes in this Walmart store proved to be futile, and I decided that online shopping would be less stressful, save gas & I wouldn’t have to stand in outrageous long lines to save a few bucks.

Thank you, Amazon.com!

10 Ways to Recycle Your Coffee Grounds

You love your coffee whether it’s from a French Press or your 10 cup percolator (I hope you have given up your harmful plastic coffee pot by now). However, if you’re like me and really despise dumping those used grounds in the trash, then I have a x ways for you to reduce your waste and reuse those coffee grounds.

I still wish coffee grounds could be used again, but after I tried brewing another small pot with the same grounds and tasted the second round, I decided coffee grounds are a “one time use only” kind of product. How unfortunate.

Reduce your waste, and reuse coffee pot grounds.

Green ways to reuse your coffee grounds (from my friends at The Greenest Dollar)

  • Save coffee grounds in one of your tin or aluminum coffee containers. Once a week add water to make a “coffee ground tea”, and then pour it on your flower beds or potted plants. Coffee grounds add much needed nitrogen to the soil, and will make your plants happy.
  • Repel plant pests by piling your coffee grounds around the base of your outside plants.
  • Add used coffee grounds to your compost pile. And if you’re vermi-posting (using worms), then you can toss your grounds in there as well. Worms love coffee grounds. Invest in a smaller worm compost for use inside your home or apartment, which is at the top of my Amzon wish list this year (hint, hint).
  • Reuse coffee grounds to keep your drains smelling fresh (pour the grounds down the drain, and immediately follow with at least 5 cups of boiling water; this will keep it from clogging). Your drains will smell like French vanilla or pumpkin spice if you use these for your coffee.
  • Coffee grounds also make a great dye for fabric and paper.
  • Coffee grounds can be used as an abrasive cleaner. Mix them with a little bit of water, and then scrub them on the surface with a stiff brush. Remember, coffee grounds are also a dye. You don’t want to do this on light colored fabrics, or countertops that stain easily.
  • You can also reuse your coffee grounds as a skin exfoliator, especially on your hands after you’ve handled smelly fish or pungent onions. The smell of the coffee can help remove those odors off your skin.
  • Ants don’t like coffee grounds. If you’ve got an ant pile, or an ant line, in your yard, then sprinkle the grounds around them and they’ll move on.

Other ways to reuse coffee grounds

  • I’ve been looking for an alternative hair conditioner and coffee grounds can be used instead of store bought conditioning treatments to give your hair that soft and shiny. (Caution: I would not use coffee grounds on light, blonde or bleached hair because coffee is a dye too.) Apply a small handful of used coffee grounds into your wet tresses and then rinse throughly. I’ll also have to try this after Monday’s coffee pot of grounds as a color touch up to my dark brown hair.
  • Another home beauty facial can be made with used coffee grounds and egg whites for an eco-friendly and home made skin-tightening facial mask.

Plastic State of Mind Musical Parody Forces Change – Will You?

I found a song I really like and an environmental cause I really believe in all wrapped into one…the result this video about making one change in your life….reducing the use of one time plastics such as plastic grocery bags, plastic bottles and plastic ware.

Thanksgiving without Turkey? Best Turkey-Free Recipes

I’ve heard more people talk about forgoing the turkey this year and opt for a Thanksgiving meal that is less work, and still delights the tastebuds. (This also includes forging the ham option too.)

Save a turkey and choose delicious vegetarian dishes instead for Thanksgiving this year.

My family and I have chosen to go the vegetarian route and not have a turkey or any other kind of meat this year. While everyone else is scrambling at the grocery stores (Saturday’s shopping at Aldi’s was just the beginning of the rush) to find the last package of celery, carrots or stuffing mix, I was stocking up on canned and fresh vegetables, breads and dairy products.

I found several other meal ideas for your annual family get-together on Thanksgiving that I’m sure you’ll love to try.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes from The Daily Green includes savory and colorful squash soups and side dishes along with desserts that will tickle your tastebuds and not tamper with your waistlines. Enjoy Basmati Rice Pudding and Carrot Pistachio cupcakes to name just a few. A few of these delicious recipes are vegan too (non dairy).

Tofu Turkey for Vegetarians from Natural Mom’s blog shares how to make a vegetarian turkey taste just like it’s bird counterpart. Tofurkeys are more common now, so you may be able to find one that already is complete with herbs and filling.

Simpler Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving ideas from The Ocean Girl Project really have a plethora of ideas and links to other sites that provide a wide variety of healthy, eco-friendly and simple recipe ideas for Thanksgiving whether you’re a vegetarian or not.

Also, remember, you don’t have to cook traditional Pilgrim and Native American meals for Thanksgiving. Make your own family traditions. One year we made a crockpot of chili and had homemade bread, another year we had a homemade Mexican feast (we lived in Arizona at the time) with authentic homemade tortillas and pumpkin pie, and this year we’re suggesting vegetable lasagna, bread, local wine and homemade desserts.

Don’t Waste Bruised Apples, Turn Them Into Applesauce

Bruised and Mushy Apples are Perfect for Making Homemade Applesauce

Apples for homemade applesauceI had a few apples left over from a farmer’s stand a couple weeks ago that had turned soft and less than desirable to eat on their own. However, I didn’t want to waste them, so I made a small batch of homemade applesauce.

I peeled the apples, but you can leave the peelings on if you like, it depends on the type of apples and your taste. Used my Pampered Chef apple core (another PC favorite) to remove the core and stem, then put them in a pan with just a little water, so they wouldn’t burn. Added a couple tablespoons of brown sugar – adjust for your sweet tooth and cinnamon. I like to use Vietnamese cinnamon because it is more concentrated, but use whatever you have; a teaspoon or 2 should suffice.

Cook apples in just a little water, cinnamon and brown sugar for a delicious homemade applesauce recipe.

Allow the apple mixture to simmer 10-15 minutes or longer depending on if you like your applesauce chunky or smooth. Stir and serve warm or refrigerate for another day. I don’t know the shelf-life of homemade vegetarian applesauce, but in my household it doesn’t matter because it’s eaten within just a couple days, if not the same day.

Use homemade applesauce over pancakes, waffles, ice cream/frozen yogurt, in plain yogurt, hot oatmeal or with graham crackers. However you eat it, you’ll know that you’re eating less sugar, fat and no preservatives.

Eat healthy and be green too, this vegetarian applesauce recipe is a treat the whole family can enjoy!

Blue Potatoes Provide Extra Nutrients in Healthy Meals

Yes, Virginia, There Really are Such Things as Blue Potatoes!

No, these farm grown potatoes do not contain a chemical dye or have a color deficiency. These are called “blue potatoes” even though they give off a purplish color. There are several varieties of potatoes including blue, purple, red, white and yellow.

We have all heard that white starchy foods, like potatoes, are not good for our health; however, according to one article,

“vibrantly colored vegetables are often more nutrient-packed than ones with tamer hues, and that holds true for potatoes as well. Red and bluefleshed potatoes, get their color from pigments called anthocyanins. In other foods, like grapes and berries, these anthocyanins have been shown to protect cells against oxidative damage, which is responsible for many age-related diseases.”

Blue potatoes are more healthy than their white counterparts.

Blue potatoes taste just the same as regular white potatoes, but they do retain their antioxidant capacity according to one researcher. Blue potato chips can be found in some grocery stores as well. Try using blue potatoes in place of regular white potatoes not only will your healthy recipe have color, but you will also have added nutrients. Try one of my favorite recipes, Veggie Friatta with blue potatoes.

It is recommended that you either grow your own blue, purple or red potatoes in your garden or buy them from area farmers, so that you receive the best tasting blue potatoes and the freshest. Buying local also saves energy, fuel and cost.

You can still buy blue potatoes, however, you probably won’t be able to buy the seeds until Spring 2011. I recommend Star Gazer Perennials because they are a certified organic seed reseller.