Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dollar store shopping

         Maybe it's a sign of rising prices, but I'm finding that I'm buying more foodstuffs  from the dollar store these days.  

         Last weekend's list:

  •    2 boxes Kashi Go Lean Vanilla Clusters.  I seldom buy this brand at the grocery because of the price, but $1 for a full-size box is a very good deal
  • 2 cans Progresso minestrone soup.   A pantry staple on the days when there's no time to cook.   I used to be able to buy a can for less than $1 with sale/coupon, but the coupons are far and few between.  Lately, sale prices are around $1.25 a can.
  • 1 loaf bread.  I can do better at Aldi, but I'd spend the savings on gas.
  • 1 jar Campbell's salsa. Had no idea Campbell's makes salsa.  Since it's going in a sauce, it's worth a try.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Place mats

  I've been on a mission to make new place mats, to replace the ones that are getting a bit worse for wear.  (Besides, it's nice to have something new, right?)

  I re-purposed some throw-pillow cases to make these, and a set of napkins. ...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How much dirt?

   We're taking baby steps toward this year's gardening ...  but the biggest news is that we're extending the size of our front garden.  

   Actually, there's a ulterior motive for this ... we need to correct a drainage problem

   I'll need to transplant flowers (cross fingers), but this should give me room for a few more  veggie plants.  Or perhaps some edible landscaping ... 

   There's only one problem:  Dirt.   About a half cubic yard.  About 1,100 pounds.  

   Buying in bulk is the logical (and lowest-price) choice.  But we don't have a truck.  (and filling the back of the trunk is not an option ;)  So unless we can borrow a truck, we may have to use the 40lb bag.

  More research to do, it seems.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

     For those of you who celebrate, have a wonderful and frugal day!  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Congratulations, it's a sink!

    After a rather long, drawn-out process, I'm pleased to announce that my kitchen has a new sink/faucet/garbage disposer.

    When last we chatted about this, I mentioned that we were lousy DIY faucet installers.  When we started pricing labor to put in a faucet, we found that the cost wasn't much different to putting in a whole sink.

   So, back to shopping.  This time, luck was with us.  One store had the perfect sink, the other had a garbage disposal and drain kit... all on sale.

   We found a handyman with reasonable rates. Thought we were ready to go, then couldn't get scheduled with the guy.   At that point, a family friend said, 'Hey, I do home repairs on the side ... here's my price.'


  The sink, it turns out, was a bear to put in ... took longer than anybody expected.  But it's in .. and it's lovely!

   Now, on to the next project.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Are discounts returning?

  Apparently, according to a new story in The Wall Street Journal.

   Seems as prices have gone up, and incomes have gone down or remained stagnant, folks have been "downshifting," buying fewer brand names, or fewer items of anything.   Apparently this is showing up in the manufacturers' bottom lines and making them nervous.

Procter & Gamble Co., Georgia Pacific Corp., Henkel AG and other companies have responded with a blitz of deals and coupons in conjunction with retailers. Indeed, over a third of packaged food and household products are now sold with discounts, as retailers and manufacturers struggle to get people to open their wallets. In some categories, such as soda, toilet paper and potato chips, more than 50% of consumers' purchases include discounts, said Gary Stibel, chief executive of the New England Consulting Group, a marketing consulting firm.

So,does this mean there are deals to be had?  Maybe.

Personally, I've seen deals, but haven't been impressed.  Forcing me to buy eight items in order to get a discount doesn't sit well. Nor does telling me I have to buy $35 worth of X company's products.
 I am, however, pleased to see coupons and more sales on my furries' brand of cat food. (Though I've been stretching it with other brands.)
 So, like everything else, it pays to shop around .... and decide for yourself if it's truly a deal.

The full story:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Growing food from scraps

   Maybe because I'm mightily wishing that the weather would get warmer and stay warmer, but I thought this was a neat article about vegetables that you can grow from scraps. 
  I've planted sprouted onions and garlic, but haven't tried some of the others.

If you're interested, here's the article:


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sometimes, you gotta let go

          I struck a blow for decluttering the other day:  I cleaned out my panty hose drawer.

          A bit of background:  I am not the frilly type.  I don't wear dresses and skirts often.  (Fortunately,  my choice of profession doesn't require formal business attire.)  So while I do have panty hose, I seldom wear them.

         But having several pairs of panty hose  doesn't mean I actually have wearable hose.  That hit home the other day when I grabbed a pair and realized that it was in poor shape:  the elastic was stretched out, and there were some noticeable snags..   Ditto for the next three pairs ...

       Enough ... I grabbed the contents of the drawer and deposited it in the trash can.  (Actually, I relented a bit ... panty hose make nice stuffing for comforters and draft dodgers.)  

    My new goal:  Invest in a couple of pairs of decent hose, and replace when necessary.