True North is:

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Michigan, United States

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

That makes "CENTS"

I wanted to share some of my money saving tips I’ve done so far. Not all have been thoroughly tested but they seem to make CENTS…lol

When I do a load I set the wash time down to the lowest setting, example if it washed for 12 minutes before now I put it to 6. I also wash in only cold water, and I use ½ detergent of what the back says to use. Haven’t had any differences as far as cleanliness is concerned. Still ALL clean! However this has not been tested on deeply soiled items, just day to day wear. When drying I set the timer to 3o minutes and check, if its done take it out, if not put it on for 10 more. I also use the dryer lint to start our fires. I the summer I plan to mostly hang outside to dry. I also wear my outer clothes (sweatshirts, pants etc) more than once if they are not soiled, usually I’m just around the house working and cooking so it really doesn’t matter. I also hang out towels to re-use all week. I’d like to eventually make my own laundry soap.

Oh boy I could go on forever in this category and there is still sooo much I need to learn. I have yet to learn to can, that is probably the number one thing on my list before spring comes. I did get a bunch of new canning stuff for Christmas from the family ! Thanks Mona and Norm! So far what I have done is bread and leftovers. I’m not baking my own bread yet, however I will be very soon. But the bread I have now I get really cheap about .50-.75 a loaf. So when the ends are left or it’s a bit stale I turn it into bread crumbs or croûtons. Leftovers I have found to be pretty easy. There are so many resources online to find recipes for leftovers, it’s almost silly that anyone would ever through stuff away! One of my experiments was spaghetti casserole. It was delicious. If you want the recipe contact me. I can’t wait to get started on the garden this spring, that is when I will have many more money saving tips to share.

Kitchen…well here I have quite a few things. First we unplug anything that is not currently in use (micro when not being used, coffee machine, etc.). We no longer use the electric can opener at all, we removed it and I’m selling or I'm going to Freecycle it. I try to mix by hand (instead of electric mixer) when baking, sometimes that’s impossible though with my lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). I reuse zipper bags (washing and drying on a cool rack I have) only if meat was not stored in them, those I toss out. I wash all containers of anything that was purchased and reuse them for storage and leftover storage, including bread bags. You’d be surprised how many I have actually gone through! Eventually I won’t have as many because we won’t be buying as many. So I’m saving them all now. Paper products…GONE, all of them. I no longer purchase any paper products for the kitchen. I have cloth napkins which I think are better feeling and looking. For nasty spills I use a rag from my "rag bag" filled with clothes and towels that could not be repaired and were torn up for convenient size use, they work great. This way no kitchen towels have to get stained, just a rag! I stopped using kitchen top cleaners and quick mop sprays, old fashion mop bucket, hand and knees and some elbow grease is the ticket now. I use a lot of vinegar and baking soda to clean, it goes A LOT farther and it gets the job done much easier. I have yet to go through the gallon of vinegar I bought 2 months ago for $2. And if anyone knows me, my house is clean…lol

Free samples!! (pictured below is 3 weeks worth) LOVE THEM! If you are already online doing homesteading research or what ever you do, take the time to fill out a few lines of your name and address and get a free sample! I have been doing it for over a month and they are pouring in now. I get at least 6 or 7 a week. I have had countless free things. A free pot of coffee, free load of laundry, several free hair washings, free food samples, I can’t even begin to name all the free stuff I have given to me. Here are some links to sites I have used.,
Paper. I reuse it all. The backs of it anyways, if I can’t write on it I save it for starting our fires (well at least some of it) I cut it up in small pieces for quick notes (kinda like the post-its) the difference is mine doesn’t My mother-in-law Sally gave me a stack of scrap paper notes that were stapled, I thought what a great idea! It’s like a little notebook. I keep one in my purse. All the junk mail I keep and use the backs. I have even used the envelopes to scratch stuff on if I need to.
FreeCycle. There is A LOT to get on these sites, however I found that there are many more that want it. So far we have gotten only one response from it, a really nice coffee table and end table set, but that's not from the lack of trying (emailing). It just comes down to, a lot of people are looking for stuff, and there is only so much that is being given. But all in all I can’t complain, it’s a great service intended to keep items out of landfills and it seems to be working and of course it‘s all FREE. We plan, as we go through things, to sporadically put some things on there.
Dumpster Diving. We just started looking into this so I can’t share our experiences as of yet, however we have found there is a whole community out there dedicated to it! It’s exciting and I hope to be back with more details on that soon.
Smoking. Yeah I know a nasty habit…but we do it. Pat’s seriously trying to quit, I’m half ass trying. Michigan has one of the highest prices for cigs. For premium you can pay almost $50 per carton and of course that’s what we smoked. So I decided to take the plunge and start rolling smokes. Pat started smoking a pipe instead. So we invested $60 into all our supplies. Pipe and cig tobacco, rolling machine, filter tubes, and pipe. The smoke shop was very helpful and even allowed us to sample different tobacco types before we bought. It was strange smoking right in a business…haven’t done that for years! Anyways as far as the cigarettes go it costs $12.70 for one carton of smokes now (tobacco, tubes and tax)!!! AMAZING!! Luckily I only smoke about 5-10 cigs a day so it’s roughly about $5 per week. Pretty damn good!!

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