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?

Dollar Dinners – Pumpkin Pancakes

It’s Thursday evening and just before payday. My cupboards are bare except for the absolute essentials – flour, sugar, salt, spices and oil….and a couple cans of pumpkin and canned fruit.

I have 1 dollar in my pocketbook….what could I possibly purchase for 1 dollar, so I can make dinner?

Pumpkin Pancakes…yes, my mind was turning out homemade recipes while I briefly walked the aisles of Aldi’s food store this evening. Eggs, only 95 cents and they come from a regional egg farm too. Perfect flavor for a cool evening in the Midwest.

Nothing in my Betty Crocker cookbook told me how to make pumpkin pancakes, but I figured it would be the same as “1/4 cup of fresh or frozen berries.” I used real canned pumpkin not the pumpkin pie filling and added my own pumpkin spice mix to a traditional pancake recipe. I had to add extra flour to make up for the moisture of the pumpkin (I also omitted the oil).

If you ever have had sweet potatoe pancakes….mmmmm…., you know that these orange colored pancakes were oh sooo delicious too! Not such a strong flavor as pumpkin pie or even pumpkin bread, but just as light as regular pancakes.

I’d have a picture, if my kid didn’t eat the last of the stack!

Simple Living 101: Non-essential Kitchen Appliances

Simple living means not having ALL or MANY modern conveniences or non essentials for living a fruitful and prosperous life. There are many kitchen appliances you don’t really need.

My kitchen looks very similar to this one; living without small kitchen appliances.

Simple living means not having ALL or MANY modern conveniences or nonessentials for living a fruitful and prosperous life. While some items and appliances may seem unnecessary to some, there are still many who think “I just can’t live without a…. or …” I really try to embrace more simple living ideals, which helps with lowering my monthly utilities and the environment too.

This morning I was making waffles, with my electric waffle maker, but I thought of all the other kitchen appliances I have given up or have given out and I never replaced throughout the last several years. I have to confess, I love kitchen gadgets! I love perusing kitchen and cooking shops at the many little and not so little gadgets one could use in the kitchen. But a reduced income has kept me away, so I realize that is probably for the best.

I don’t have the following kitchen appliances, and have learned to live without them and still feel productive in the kitchen:

> Toaster – had one about 10 years ago, but it didn’t survive a cross-country move. I don’t really have a need for one anymore. If I must toast bread for breakfast, I turn the broiler in my oven on for 5 minutes.

> Electric Can Opener – also had one of these at one time until it became too problematic to use. I gave it to my Mom and she used it until it died. Now we both only use the handheld type. I really like the smooth-edge handheld can opener from Pampered Chef, which is now found on Amazon (it’s also number 1 on my Amazon list!); it doesn’t leave any sharp edges and you can use it on any size can. Remember to scrub and wash can openers occasionally to remove the grime and keep it cranking smoothly.

> Stand-alone mixer – I have never owned one of these, so the compact hand-held mixer works just fine for the things I need to mix. Although I prefer a well-constructed whisk to a mixer, sometimes a mixer does come in handy.

> Toaster Oven – I had one of these at one time and I did use it often instead of turning on the stove or oven. I loved the low cost features of it, but it didn’t fit into my apartment-sized kitchen when I moved, so I handed it down to my mother, who uses it more.

> Electric Skillet – I do have one of these, but I can’t find the power cord from 2 moves ago. It still sits in a box in my closet. I do like using an electric skillet over turning on the stove, especially during the summer. It saves on electricity/gas usage too. However, I have adapted without it.

What small kitchen appliances do you use often and ones that you think you couldn’t live without? Could you embrace the simple living lifestyle in your kitchen by only using frugal kitchen appliances. Leave me your opinions!

Purging the Unused: How to Organize & Simplify Your Recipes

Want to purge your recipes? If you haven’t cooked, baked, or tried a recipe in your file in the last couple years, then it’s time to clean out your recipes. Learn what you can do with new and old recipes.

I cleaned out my recipe book today; you probably have one like mine. I have this used 9” x 11” black photo book with several stiff pages that have a clear overlay on each side along with several insertable paper protectors inside. I think I’ve had it now for at least a decade and a half.

I have several recipes that I cut out of magazines, newspapers, copied from a cookbook and also ones that friends wrote on neat 3 x 5 and 4 x 6 “From the Kitchen of…” note cards. I even have a few that I took from my Mother’s recipe box (yes, you remember those don’t you) that are in her Mother’s handwriting, like the cornbread stuffing she made at Thanksgiving and the cornbread biscuits that she made for almost every meal that I remember. These recipes are written on the original notepad paper in faded blue ink and the memorable penmanship that has been passed onto my own Mother.

Then I also have a couple other 3 x 5 “Kitchen” note cards that are in my own youthful printed ink and one is dated from …..1987! Wow! Upon closer examination, I see it is a pretzel recipe from a Single Living class taken in high school. I think I made pretzels at home a couple times while still in high school and maybe a couple more times a few years later, but haven’t touched the card since. I toss this one out too. Some reminders of high school don’t need to stay in my kitchen. Another note card has a recipe of a double batch of lasagna that I wrote down from a cooking show a few years ago. I did make this double batch which lasted for 2 weeks worth of dinners between my son and me. I decide to keep this one.

Other recipes neatly cut from magazines or newspaper inserts that I have never made, and will probably not make in the next year, and even if I did, I could find it again somewhere else. Anything that contains cheesecake, whipped cream and high fat ingredients is pulled out and put in the recycling bin (do recycle paper, even if it’s small as a recipe). I also take out anything that could have been baked for my son’s kindergarten to second grade class such as brownie bites, cupcake cones (or any type of cupcakes) and cookie pizza. My son is now a senior in high school and instead of taking cupcakes to school he bakes his own triple chocolate brownies to appease the girls in his business class.

Now my black binder is less cumbersome and I have several empty acetate free pages that are kept in the back in case I find a recipe that I like and will actually use. Then I do a little reorganizing of the recipes that I have kept in more meaningful sections such as Helpful Tips and How-to’s: how to store vegetables, how to increase fiber in your diet; Soups, Egg Dishes, Meat Dishes, Pastas, Vegetarian, and my favorite, Desserts. I found more dessert recipes in my binder than any other type of dish. And yes, I have made each of them, and those that I haven’t made in the last 5 years were recycled.

What kind of recipes do you have stuffed in your recipe book, binder, or box? Have you taken an inventory of what you’re keeping, using or just saving for memory’s sake? Take a look today, purge those recipes that you haven’t cooked or baked in the last couple years. Recycle these recipes or pass them along to a friend, then pull out a couple that you and your family would like to have this week. Have a dinner party with your family, invite each member to select a recipe that he or she would like to make and bring to the dinner party. I’m sure you’ll be surprised by all the delicious and variety of food that you have. Come back and let me know what you purged, kept and cooked!