Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baking Soda

Ah baking soda, oh the wonderful things you can do.  So many in fact that long long lists have been written about you.

Here's one: Put up to 1/2 cup of baking soda into your washing machine to get rid of vomit smell.  Works like a wonder!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fellow Blogger Shout Out

Um, so sorry for the loooong gap in posts here.  My next post might give a hint as to why I've been away so long...

But! I wanted to give a Frugal Omma Shout Out to this fellow frugal blogger.  Check it out!

(Or cut and paste: http://learningthefrugallife.blogspot.com/)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Buy Local

Find out what's unique about your area, perhaps there's an orchard nearby, perhaps a dairy farm, a farmer's market, etc.  Chances are you can get the best deal around by going there to buy it.  And chances are that it is organic.  How cool is that? Inexpensive and organic?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

National Adoption Month

Earlier this week was World Orphans Day. There are many ways to support an orphan, with prayers, finances, adoption or all of the above. There are many wonderful child sponsorship programs. You can sponsor an orphan or a family (or a pastor!). Adoption isn't for everyone but sponsoring a child...I think I can say just about anyone can sponsor a child.  I was sponsoring a child when I was in Jr. High and didn't have a job, only babysitting on occasion.

Here are some of my favorite child sponsorship programs where the children get provided for physically AND spiritually. For $28-$35 a month (about $1 a day...or less!) you can make a HUGE impact! Life changing here and for eternity!





Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Menu Mom

Time for an Omma Brand shout out to "THhe Menu Mom"! www.themenumom.com

You can sign up for emails and get great stuff like the following:

Easy Breakfast Recipe Book:

Easy Breakfast Ebook:

Halloween Party Recipe and Game Idea Book:

Freezing Food Guide:

Freezer Recipes Ebook:

A Year of Snacks:

Summer Smoothies Ebook:

Mother's Day Report:

*** Also this year we introduced our Blog Frog Community - you can find that here:  http://www.theblogfrog.com/themenumom

Our Facebook Page grew by leaps and bounds (we love to spoil our FB fans!)  http://www.facebook.com/themenumom

And we're also on Twitter!  http://www.twitter.com/themenumom ***

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

60 ways to use baking soda

Thanks to my friend Cheryl and my Grandma S for this post idea!

Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda has many different uses in the household. Although much more expensive products have been developed over the years to do the same jobs, baking soda can work for you just as well, if not better. Use it in the following ways:

1. To make your own baking powder, stir and sift together 2 parts of Cream of Tartar to 1 part baking soda and 1 part cornstarch.

2. Be sure to keep an extra box of baking soda by your stove in case of grease or electrical fire. Scatter the powder by the handful to safely put it out.

3. Keep a container of baking soda in your garage as well as in your car to put out a fire. It won’t damage anything it touches.

4. Baking soda will also put out fires in clothing, fuel, wood, upholstery and rugs.
5. Clean vegetables and fruit with baking soda. Sprinkle in water, soak and rise the produce.
6. Wash garbage cans with baking soda.
7. Soak and wash diapers with baking soda.
8. Oil and grease – stained clothing washes out better with soda added to the washing water.
9. Clean your fridge and freezer with dry soda sprinkled on a damp cloth. rinse with clear water.
10. Deodorize your fridge and freezer by putting in an open container of baking soda to absorb odors. Stir and turn over the soda from time to time. Replace every 2 months.
11. Soda absorbs kitty litter odors. Cover the bottom of the kitty box with 1 part soda; then add a layer of 3 parts kitty litter on top.
12. Always add 1/2 cup soda to your washing machine load.
13. Clean combs and brushes in a soda solution.
14. Wash food and drink containers with soda and water.
15. Wash marble-topped furniture with a solution of 3 tablespoons of soda in 1 quart of warm water. Let stand awhile, then rinse.
16. Clean formica counter tops with baking soda on a damp sponge.
17. Wash out thermos bottles and cooling containers with soda and water to get rid of stale smells.
18. To remove stubborn stains from marble, formica or plastic surfaces, scour with a paste of soda and water.
19. Wash glass or stainless steel coffee pots (but not aluminum) in a soda solution ( 3 tbsp. soda to 1 quart water).
20. Run you coffee maker through its cycle with a soda solution. Rinse.
21. Give baby bottles a good cleaning with soda and hot water.
22. Sprinkle soda on barbecue grills, let soak, then rinse off.
23. Sprinkle soda on greasy garage floor. Let stand, scrub and rinse.
24. Polish silverware with dry soda on a damp cloth. Rub, rinse and dry.
25. For silver pieces without raised patterns or cemented-on handles: place the silver on aluminum foil in an enamel pot. Add boiling water and 4 tbsp. baking soda. Let stand, rinse and dry.
26. Reduce odor build-up in your dishwasher by sprinkling some soda on the bottom.
27. Run your dishwasher through its cycle with soda in it instead of soap to give it a good cleaning.
28. To remove burned-on food from a pan: let the pan soak in soda and water for 10 minutes before washing. Or scrub the pot with dry soda and a moist scouring pad.
29. For a badly-burned pan with a thick layer of burned-on food: pour a thick layer of soda directly onto the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle on just enough water so as to moisten the soda. Leave the pot overnight, then scrub it clean next day.
30. Rub stainless steel and chrome with a moist cloth and dry baking soda to shine it up. Rinse and dry. On stainless steel, scrub in the direction of the grain.
31. Clean plastic, porcelain and glass with dry soda on a damp cloth. Rinse and dry.
32. Remove that bad smell from ashtrays with soda and water.
33. Sprinkle a bit of dry soda in your ashtrays to prevent smoldering and reduce odor.
34. Clean your bathroom with dry soda on a moist sponge – sink, tub, tiles, shower stall, etc.
35. Keep your drains clean and free-flowing by putting 4 tablespoons of soda in them each week. Flush the soda down with hot water.
36. Soak your shower curtains in water and soda to clean them.
37. To remove strong odors from your hands, wet your hands and rub them hard with soda, then rinse.
38. Sprinkle baking soda on your wet toothbrush and brush your teeth and dentures with it.
39. Sprinkle soda in tennis shoes, socks, boots and slippers to eliminate odor.
40. Add 1/2 cups or more of baking soda to your bath water to soften your skin.
41. Putting 2 tbsp. of baking soda in your baby’s bath water will help relieve diaper rash irritations.
42. Apply soda directly to insect bites, rashes and poison ivy to relieve discomfort. Make a paste with water.
43. Take a soda bath to relieve general skin irritations such as measles and chicken pox.
44. Take 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 glass of water to relieve acid indigestion or heartburn.
45. Gargle with 1/2 tsp. baking soda in 1/2 glass of water. Freshens and cleans your mouth.
46. Used as a mouthwash, baking soda will also relieve canker sore pain.
47. To relieve sunburn: use a paste of baking soda and water.
48. Bug bites: use a poultice of baking soda and vinegar.
49. Bee sting: use a poultice of baking soda and water.
50. Windburns: moisten some baking soda and apply directly.
51. Making Play Clay with baking soda: combine 1 1/4 cups water, 2 cups soda, 1 cup cornstarch.
52. Use soda as an underarm deodorant.
53. If your baby spits up on his shirt after feeding, moisten a cloth, dip it in baking soda and dab at the dribbled shirt. The odor will go away.
54. When scalding a chicken, add 1 tsp. of soda to the boiling water. The feathers will come off easier and flesh will be clean and white.
55. Repel rain from windshield. Put gobs of baking soda on a dampened cloth and wipe windows inside and out.
56. Add to water to soak dried beans to make them more digestible.
57. Add to water to remove the “gamey” taste from wild game.
58. Use to sweeten sour dishcloths.
59. Use dry with a small brush to rub canvas handbags clean.
60. Use to remove melted plastic bread wrapper from toaster. Dampen cloth and make a mild abrasive with baking soda.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Favorite Shirt

Does your child have a favorite shirt?  You know, that one that wouldn't leave their body for months if you didn't pry it off of them to wash it on occasion?

Here's an easy way to get that shirt back on your kiddo.  Hand wash with just a drop of soap.  Ring it out and line dry.  It'll be ready to be worn the next day without running a whole load of wash for just one shirt.  Although if you're running laundry that day anyway that happens to work out well.  But it keeps down on the special loads.

Friday, October 7, 2011


My tot hates tags in his shirt.  They itch and bother him and he cries to have me cut them out.  So I cut them out, put them on a note card stating which shirt it is, file it away, and then sew it back in when he's outgrown them.  That way I can re-sell the name brand ones with tags intact.  I've grown lax about the others and just make sure I put them in the correct box when I pack them away.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pot Luck Cooking

I love trying out new recipes, but there's always that fear of "What if everyone hates it and we're stuck with a whole dish?" Because I know I'll be the one that's choking it down if no one likes it.

So I invite friends over.  We cook up all those new recipes we have been wanting to try, eat some, and divide up the food between everyone to take home!  Everyone loves it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Here's an Omma Brand shout out to Three Sisters Cereal.  All their cereal comes in ziplock bags to save on packaging (part of the savings is passed on to you too).  It's natural cereal that tastes great.  My little girl likes the Three Sisters Honey O's over the name brands.  AND you can really stock up when there's a sale, waaaay cheaper than the regular boxes of cereal.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Shop Around

I have become my grandpa's granddaughter and have started going to different grocery stores to get the best deal.

1) This all stems from knowing how much something should cost and what a good price is.
2) Then it is shopping all your local stores to find out who has the best price.  If you get the newspaper or have the internet, you can check the fliers weekly to see where the best deals are.
3) Make a list for each store (I prefer this to circling items on the fliers, helps me get everything I need).  Put the coupons you need with your list so everything is all together in one spot.
4) Pick a day of the week to do all the errands or go to one store a day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Online Magazines and Newspapers

Sorry for the long lapse in updates, Frugal Omma has had a crazy time with her two kiddos and needed a break from blogging.


Almost all magazines and newspapers have some sort of online presence.  The hope is that you'll love the printed version so much that you'll buy a subscription.  And of course the tantalizing offer that "not everything is online, get the subscription to see all the exciting articles."

But really, for as much as the average subscriber reads the whole magazine/newspaper, the online version is plenty.

And many magazines/newspapers have tweets or facebook updates so you don't even have to go to their website, you just log on and see what the latest news is.  If you like getting texts, you can sometimes sign up for free news texts as well.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Ah, it's supper time and everyone in the house is hungry. They all turn to you and ask "What's for dinner?"  Good question.  So what do you do?

There are a number of suggestions you could try.

Meal List
You could type up a list of all your favorite meals that can be made with the items you typically keep in stock. Then when you're stuck on a idea, you look at the list and pick something.

Meal Calendar
This is a take on the list but a bit more organized.  For either the week or the month fill in what you will make on which days.  You can organize your shopping around this, prep ahead of time, and not be scrambling at the last minute to make something.  Don't forget to add in leftovers days!

Meal Box
This is a different take on the meal calendar.   A lady once told me that all I need are 30 recipes and then I can rotate them in a box.  The next one up is the meal for the night.

Cook for a week in one day
For the super organized (and I have never done this by the way) you can cook for the whole week (or month) and then freeze the food.  Then it is simply a mater of taking the meal out of the freezer and heating it up for the evening.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Talk to Me

I'm not sure if this is a frugal tip or not.  But I'm posting it anyway (my blog, my rules).

Today's tip is to talk to your grandparents.  Or your parents.  Or grandparent like people. Or parent like people if you don't have your grandparents and parents around anymore.  There is so much hidden knowledge locked up in these folks.  All it needs it a little prompting to get it started.  Think of all the great things they can tell you!  How they met (do you know how your grandparent met?), what their life was like, how they made ends meet, favorite outings, etc.  Vast stores of knowledge and memories are waiting for you.  People that won't be around forever or even if they are may not be able to tell you things as they get older due to illness, stroke, etc.  There are things I wished I had talked about with my grandpa before he had his stroke but as I was young at the time I didn't think of it then.  There are recipes I wish I had gotten from my grandma and great-grandma but now that opportunity is past.  So I urge you to tap these wondrous resources available to you!  You'll be surprised by what you didn't know!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Proper Disposal

This isn't so much a "frugalite" tip as it is a "natural" tip.

Check your local municipality's water management website, chances are they have a calendar with dates you can drop off you extra/expired medications, paints, household cleaning items, and other hazardous materials.  They can properly dispose of these items for you.  Please don't just dump of flush these items.  They get into the sewer systems and may not get completely filtered out for your (and mine) drinking water.

Places like the "Lions Club" also have drop boxes for old glasses, hearing aids, and will retire your American flag properly.  They send the glasses and hearing aids to people in needs and countries like Africa.

Check your local hospital too because they will sometimes accept unopened boxes/packages of medication to send to Africa too.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Date Your Cans

This is a little trick my grandparents use on their canned goods.  As you're unpacking them from the car into your pantry, date them.  Now you can choose either to put the date you bought the can on the top or put the expiration date on the top so it's easy to find (because they aren't always easy to find).  Whichever way you choose to do this be consistent or you'll get very confused.  Then make sure you put them in order and use the can that's closest to expiring first.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clean it, eat it

Here's a shout out to Shaklee's Basic H.  This stuff is natural, it cleans great, it's safe, you could drink it (that's me saying that, not Shaklee, and I'm not saying you should drink it just that you could and you'd still be ok).

Basic H is strong enough to clean your bathroom and safe enough to clean those nasty pesticides off your apple.  If you buy one natural cleaning product this should be it and you'll never need to buy anything else.

Disclaimer: I suppose I should also say that I don't get any money from my Omma Brands shout outs.  Just want to give my praises where they are due.  ^_^

Monday, May 16, 2011

Budget Tracking

I'm a fan of knowing your budget.  Realistically knowing what goes out in a month.  Knowing those "odd ball" expenses that don't come up every month such as paying insurance premiums.  If you don't have a budget here's how to start.

  1. Write down every penny that goes out of your pocket during the month.  Every.single.penny.  If you don't know what's going out and where it's going it's rather difficult to get a realistic budget.  Use a spreadsheet or just write it down on a piece of paper, whatever works for you.  It sounds fine and dandy to set a goal of $x for say groceries but if you actually spend $y and it is no where near $x then it isn't realistic.
  2. Add up all of the "odd ball" expenses.  Divide that up over 24 pay periods (assuming you or someone in your household get's paid twice a month) and then take that out of your paycheck on payday.  If you do online banking you can do this automatically.  That way when that car insurance bill comes in your mailbox you won't be scrambling to pay the bill.  (I'm also a fan of doing automatic savings this way too.)
  3. After you see where all your money is going over the course of two months you can see where you may need to make changes.  You may not have realized you were spending so much money on renting movies for example.  Spending a $1 here or there does add up.
  4. Write your budget down.  Be realistic but set goals that you think you can reach.  You may have been spending $y on groceries but with some organization, coupon clipping, sale hunting, baking more from scratch, etc. you may be able to lower that amount spent.
  5. Put that budgeted money in cash, in envelopes.  David Ramsey (Omma "brand" shout out) is a fan of this method.  We "feel it" more when we use cash.  It's more "personal."  And it is visual.  I've tried the method of writing down what was spent on our credit card to stay within that limit and it didn't work for me.  I always ended up spending more.  But when I have cash in hand I can see how much is there, how much is for each week, and how much I have left.

Let 'em Know

I have found a great new way to get clothes for my kids, let people know what I need!  It's amazing.  Someone has something sitting in their kid's closet (or attic or basement) that they've outgrown and will say "oh I have that for you" or Grandparents will pick up on the hint and give it as a gift for birthday or Christmas.  Or grandparent like people will find them when they are out and about at rummage sales.  It makes it easy when it is one specific item.  People don't feel that they are giving you their whole stash of clothes as hand-me-downs and they feel good that they helped you out with what you needed.  So next time you need say size 2T shorts for your kid, just post it on Facebook or mention it in passing and all of a sudden you may not need to go to rummage sales for them anymore.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Magnets make a great craft project.  Chances are you have extra magnets you didn't know about such as the calendar ones free at grocery stores or banks.  The one that random Realtor sends you for who knows what reason.  Your local team's schedule.  Those magnets.  They are thin and flat.  They are perfect for gently scoring and gluing construction paper on.  They are great for art projects.  The grandparents will love getting home made magnets from their grandkids and the kids will have fun making them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Holes in Jeans

Back in a previous post about mending socks, Rachel asked about fixing holes in jeans.  Since I asked for your ideas I thought I would feature this question as well.

Yes, I end up mending quite a few pants too. If your hole is quite small you can loop it shut. Be sure to get the stitches back far enough so they are grabbing "solid" material. If it is a larger hole you'll need to reinforce the hole with extra material. You can put the material on the inside of your pants and stitch around it. Just be sure to give allowance for bending in the knee.

If it is a large hole or you just don't have the time to mend it, get out your 40% coupon for JoAnns or Michael's (or if you get their mailings, your 50% coupon) and buy one of their iron on patches.  This is in the section near the zippers and snaps.  It is a large jean colored patch (not the small decorative ones although if the hole is small enough you could use these, I find they can be itchy on the skin).  You iron on over the hole and "ta da" the hole is mended.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Free Samples

I love free samples.  I bet you love free samples too.  I love signing up for free samples and getting them mailed to me.  I love getting mail that isn't a bill and isn't asking me for money.  It's free, it's fun, it's stuff I can use.  And it is easy.

Go to the manufacture's website and you can sign up there.  If you're on Facebook, like the product or manufacture and they periodically run coupons or promotions.  And the best part is, you can usually sign up for more free samples in a couple of months.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Free Pillow

My son recently earned new bed sheets for making a successful transition to his "big boy bed."  The sheets were on sale of course and came in a cloth bag.  This bag was so exciting that I had to do something with it.  I made a pillow out of it.  I stuffed it full of fluff and stitched it shut.  No paying big bucks for the coordinating one that they want you to buy, I made my own.  And he loves it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Automatic Savings

Perhaps you or your spouse get direct deposit on pay day.  Perhaps you're already set up with online banking as talked about here in one of my previous posts.  Did you know that with online banking you can set it up to automatically transfer money into your savings account on payday?! Assuming of course that you 1) have a savings account with the same bank 2) have direct deposit 3) use online banking and 4) the online banking program offers such a function (which many do by the way).

This works so nicely because you budget for it, it's automatic, and it's money you don't miss.  It doesn't somehow become part of your spending budget and is there for emergencies when you've blown your budget for whatever reason (like I did this month with three unexpected medical expenses).  Hey life happens, that's why we have an emergency savings and why automatic transfer into savings is a great idea.  If you can't set it up to transfer automatically or you're uncomfortable with the idea you can set manual do this transfer on payday.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


When I'm not crocheting my dish scrubber I buy them from the dollar store.  To make these last longer I cut them in half (because really, how much of it are you using at one time?).  Makes my $0.50 scrubber a $0.25 scrubber and I end up with 4 scrubbers instead of 2.  Yeah!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Your Ideas - Laundry Soap

I know you all have great ideas, you're just checking out this blog to get more good ideas.  So I want to hear your creative tips too.

Here's one I got from a friend of mine for homemade laundry soap/detergent.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap-Front or Top Load Machine

4 cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar 
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax

-Grate or shred the bar of Fels-Naptha soap. Add it to the saucepan with 4 cups of hot tap water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5-gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda, and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use (will gel). (This is optional. I do not do this). 

Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons or 5 gallons if you do not dilute it.

Top Load Machine- 5/8 cup per load (approx 180 loads)

Front Load Machine- 1/2 to 1 cup per load (approx 640 loads)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Keep it Full

Keeping your appliances such as refrigerator, freezer, and loads of laundry will help with your utilities bill.  They will operate at optimum efficiency when they are more full.  You can "artificially" do that for your fridge and freezer by putting gallons of water in them if you are for some reason unable to keep them full.

I know, we've all been there, your husband needs a shirt for work, your only clean pair of pants just got sticky little hands all over them, etc.  So you want to wash that one item.  If you can at all avoid it, don't wash just that item.  Chances are you'll find enough laundry around the house to make a full load.  Or at least a load bigger than just one item.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Freezing Food

I don't like to cook.  I can bake all day long but dislike cooking.  Which is odd for a person who likes food but that's just how things are.

So I make double batches for certain items when I cook.  Then I can freeze them for a quick meal later, usually when we're rushing about and need an "instant" meal.  Instead of grabbing a highly processed frozen meal of some sorts I can grab my home cooked instant meal.

Works great for all sorts of things.  Casseroles, waffles, pancakes, bars, bread, etc.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I used to get the paper for the coupons.  BLAH!  Waste of money.  I was getting lots of use out of the coupons sure but I had all that paper piling up, the cost of which kept going up, and I was clipping coupons to pay for my paper!  Arg!

So I canceled the paper and use the Red Plum flyers instead.  They are free, they come in my mail, what's not to like?

You can also go to their website and print them out.

If you like a particular brand, company, etc. you can go to their website and print coupons or get their free e-news and get coupons that way.  I have a "junk" email account that I use just for these sign ups so that my regular email doesn't get bogged down with tons of newsletters and spam.

You can also "like" a company or brand on Facebook and get the "inside scoop" on deals and coupons there.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rummage Sales

My mom is the queen of rummage sales.  She can spot a sign for one a mile away!  She can haggle a price down like a pro.  I have my kitchen table is thanks to my mom who not only haggled the man down on the price but got him to deliver it as well!!

I love rummage sale season.  You never know what you will find.  I usually have some general items that I keep an eye out for when I go rummaging but they're rummage sales, you never know what you'll find.

Clothes for kids are a big one.  I love to stock up with I find a great place that's selling clothes for ten cents a piece.  I pick up clothes for my nephews and nieces at that price! (I'm so generous, I know. ^_~)  I have gotten both of my jogging strollers at rummage sales.  They cost $200 and $400 new (single and double) and I paid a max of $25/piece for them.

And by the way, many rummage items make good gifts.  Sometimes they are in the original packaging too yet.  Growing up we would get many items for Christmas or birthday that were from rummage sales.  (What? Doesn't everyone do that? ^_~)  That's not to say we never got anything new but much was from my mom's thrifty finds.  There were many years where things were extremely tight for my parents and my mom made sure that no one was without presents on special occasions.  I never felt like I had to do without because my mom was a frugal shopper.  In fact, one year I was surprised that our family was picked by the church for the annual "Family Charity Christmas box" as I have never felt poor (and we had, in fact, contributed items to that exact same box).  That was mostly due to my mom who could pinch pennies so hard they screamed!  Valuable skills she picked up from her Grandma, Grammy A.  Grammy A could find awesome gifts at rummage sales.  I have in my living-room, a reproduction of DaVinci's "Last Supper" that my Grammy A got as a wedding gift for my parents that she found at *drum roll* a rummage sale! 

So that just goes to show that you don't have to spend a lot of money to make it look like you've spent a lot of money.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Online Banking and Bill Pay

Many banks are offering free online banking and bill pay.  What a great idea!  One would hope that a bank's website is secure as they have a large stake in it if it isn't.  And you save on paper, envelopes, checks, and stamps!  What a wonderful thing!  Many banks also have the option where you can see where your money is going easily, have e-copies of the canceled check, etc.  If you have multiple accounts with the same bank you can transfer funds between them all online.  It is easy to balance your checkbook as you can see everything as it goes through your account almost instantly.  If you don't take advantage of this, check it out!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Conserving Water

Save water.  That's what your mom always told you right?  Well now you may be a little older, wiser, and the one paying the water bill.  We had a situation where the faucet in the tub was dripping.  First of all, all drips should be fixed, that adds up.  But until that plummer gets there, what to do with all that water?  Only so many times you can water you plants right?

Put a bucket under that drip and collect the water to flush your toilet.  You may be surprised how quickly that bucket fills up!  (And how much your water bill goes back down.)

Friday, February 25, 2011


I enjoy rebates, basically free stuff.  For the cost of a little time and a stamp I get some fun free items. 

Words for the wise:
  • You have to fill out and mail said rebate with all the items they request by the time they say it should be mailed by.  Otherwise you just bought it at full price.
  • Make a copy of it (scanners are great for this as you don't have to print them out) and follow up if they take more than 6 weeks to return your money.  If they claim they never got it then kindly offer to mail them a copy.
  • Take note if a brand doesn't return your money so you never do a rebate with them or any of their affiliates again.  They are officially on your "you irk me" list.
  • Walgreens has great reliable rebates.  The down side is that they are in store gift cards.  But if you do shopping there that is just as good.  Note: They don't mind if you check out multiple times.  So get your priciest item first, the load it onto your card (after you've done this once already and have the card), and then check out the next item with the money you just got back, rinse and repeat.
  • Menards also has good reliable rebates and your DH will be impressed that you shopped there.  It is also in store gift cards but DH will appreciate them for when he needs to buy manly stuff.  Just remind him to use them!
  • Rebate items make great gifts, just ask my mom!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mac and Cheese

We've all been there, the day was crazy and now you need to feed a bunch of hungry family members.  So we grab a box (or two) of mac and cheese.  Here's ways to stretch that a bit.

1) Make an impromptu casserole.  Use a box of mac and cheese and throw in a can of peas or corn and a can of tuna or salmon.  Ta da! A bit more hearty and healthy.

2) Make the cheese pack last longer.  Use half the amount suggested.  I keep a container in my pantry for the leftover powdered cheese.  Then you can use bulk noodles and add 2 T of powdered cheese.

3) Make your own mac and cheese.  Use bulk noodles and right after the drain the water (noodles still hot) throw some shredded cheese on it, let it melt, and then stir.  Added bonus: cheaper and healthier.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Make your Tea and Coffee Go Longer

If you drink tea or coffee than this is the post for you.  Because really, when we come down to it, we don't need either of those items.  They cost money and they're a diuretic.  But they taste sooo good!

Reuse your tea bag.  If you're going to drink more than one cup, steep your bag and then put it in a little bowl.  When you're ready for your second cup, use the same tea bag.  But only use it a total of two times or else you loose the flavor.

Coffee grounds.  If you make more than one pot of coffee you can just add a little bit more grounds to the filter already full of them.  Second pot will still taste just as good as the first and you only used a little bit more instead of refilling the whole thing again.

When you're done with your grounds, add them to your plants.  They'll thank you for it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dish Water

I like to wash my dishes in warm/hot water.  But when the tap is first turned on it is cold!  What's a frugal omma to do?  Well you can either fill up your watering can while you wait or you can do what my Grammy A would do and boil the water.  That's right, get out your tea kettle folks and fill 'er up!  Boil and add to your cold water.  Voila!  Perfect dish water!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day old food

It's amazing what one little day can do.  One day the grocery store can charge full price, the next they legally can't sell it.  It's that little thing called the "sell by date."  I know some people do a major part of their shopping this way but I don't have time for that.  But if I happen to see something that's a day or two past the "sell by date" (depending on what it is of course, let's not be cheap) I'll throw it in the cart and get it for free.  Saves them from having to throw out that box of Mac 'n Cheese that I'll promptly cook up for lunch.  Isn't that nice of me to take that off their hands?  ^^

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Show Love to your Loved Ones by NOT Spending Money

I heard on the radio that the average person spends *drum roll* $120 on Valentines day!  O.O'  Yikes!!

Ok, so clearly someone is spending more than that because I spend just a few dollars on Valentines day (cards for my nephews and nieces, maybe a card for DH, and treats for my Sunday School kids - all purchased at the Dollar Store).  Although I do love the Valentine's day sales the day after where I can snatch up great chocolates for 50%+ off.

So let me tell you what you can do for the love of your life without breaking the bank.

1) Write a love letter.  This will mean more than roses and chocolates.  It will last longer and it will cost you only a little ink, paper, and time.

2) Hide notes around the house.  Put a "I love your smile" note on top of her coffee maker.  Put a "You give the best hugs" on top of the fridge where only he can see (you may need a step ladder if you're vertically challenged).  Or in a lunchbox before he heads off to work, etc.

3) Write "I love you" on the mirror after your shower and before his/hers so they see it when it's their turn.  Or get one of those soap crayons (or borrow it from your kids) and lightly write on the mirror or shower.

4) Surprise them with dinner.  If your DW is always making dinner give her the night off and make her something (even if it's frozen pizza, she'll appreciate the gesture).

5) Back massage.  Give them one yourself.

6) Foot massage, listen up men because you're woman will love this.

7) Verbally tell your love throughout the day that you love them or shower them with compliments.  You will visibly see their face shine.

I could go on but I think you get the idea.  You don't have to spend $120 or more to express "I love you."  And you don't have to wait for Valentine's day to do any of the above.  Nothing is sweeter than a random little note when you don't expect it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Free Movies

If you're like me, you probably like free things.  I like going to the movies for free.  Movies are expensive and by the time just two people go see a movie, you could have bought it on DVD.  But I like going to movies just a much as the next person which is why I like http://www.gofobo.com/  You can search via location and create a free log in for notifications.  The tickets go fast but it's great when you can snag one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Party Planning

You're throwing a party and you want it to look great right?  You want the food to be awesome right?  So here's some tips for making it great.

Veggie/Fruit Trays.  These are highly expensive at the store.  You can buy a nice mix of items and put them on a plate or your own tray for a fraction of the cost.  It takes some time and chopping skills but you'll save a ton.

Chex Mix.  Make your own.  There are lots of great recipes on sites like Betty Crocker and Kraft and Supercook.  And feel free to buy the generic.  They are, of course, going to recommend name brands.  Again, fraction of the cost.

Slow Cooker.  AKA best friend in the kitchen.  Try a pulled pork or spicy chicken wing recipe and you're good to go.  Fix it, forget it, enjoy your party (that's why you had one right?).

Beverage.  Make a big batch of punch and put it in ice cream buckets.  You can stack them in the fridge or freezer and let people scoop it out.  (And add their own adult beverage content.  Freezer works great as the alcohol won't completely freeze in a 24 hour period.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Case Discount

I happen to live near a Whole Foods store.  They have great bulk items, inexpensive natural and organic foods and household items, and case discounts.  Other stores have this too but I LOVE Whole Foods and their case discount.  Everything in the store has a case discount, it just depends on the item how much of it you have to purchase to get said discount.  I found this out quite by accident buying formula for my son.  I had three canisters and the very helpful check out clerk says "did you know you can get 10% off if you buy one more?"  When I looked dumbfounded he explained how the case discount works.  I can get organic formula for less than a regular store brand with this discount.  Best.thing.ever!  I buy yogurt, shampoo, lotion, all case discount.  I've asked at some of my other stores that I shop and they also do discounts on certain items.  It pays to ask if you can get a case discount!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Free Shopping

Ok, this may be a less popular post but hang in here with me to the end.

I'm going to talk about dumpster diving and garbage picking.  YIKES!  But Frugal Omma, doesn't that cross into cheap?!  It can extremely easily but let me explain.

All the generations before me that I have known have "picked garbage."  (Did you know you can actually get a license to partake in these activities by your local government and you just flash it to people if they ask you what you're doing?)  But the key is for only certain things and at certain times.  For dumpster diving I have gone to high end local colleges at the end of the year.  Why?  Because students with seemingly lots of discretionary money throw out what they can't pack back home.  Those living farther away throw out perfectly good furniture.  Now, that being said let's draw the line somewhere shall we?  No cloth covered furniture and no beds or bedding.  I'm talking lamps, tables, chairs you can wash/disinfect, bookshelves, etc.  Stuff you can clean and not worry about bringing in lice and other nasty stuff with it.  That is where you get cheap and it is ultimately expensive to fix that mistake.  (Same holds true for hand-me-down furniture, you have to know where it's coming from.)  You also want to make sure it hasn't rained.

You never know what you might find driving around the nice end of town on garbage day.  You find things people haven't bothered dropping off at Good Will and just want to get rid of it.  I've picked up perfectly good big wheels and other outdoor toys for my kids this way.  While my Grammy A would do the polite thing and ask someone if she could take an item I do the "it's by the side of the road on garbage day so they obviously don't want it" stop, throw it in the car, and drive away.  I started out with the polite asking but people just look at you like you're crazy and go "Um yeah, I'm throwing it out so knock yourself out."  One has to know the difference between "it happens to be in the lawn" and "it's clearly being thrown out" or you could get into trouble.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Free Days at Museums and Family Passes

I live in a larger city and we have museums here.  Chances are you may live near a museum too.  Have you checked their website to see if they offer free days to those living in the county?  Almost all of the museums here have a free day to residents.  These are great FREE outings.  I love taking the kids knowing that if we only get to see part of the museum on this trip, it doesn't matter.  I didn't spend an arm and leg getting everyone there and thus feel obligated to drag cranky kids through the rest of the museum to get my moneys worth.

We happen to have a zoo pass for our local zoo but they also have free days several times a year.  The zoo is a favorite local spot for us so we budget in for that pass so we can go a lot.  Go twice as a family and the pass is essentially paid for and the rest are bonus trips.  Plus, look at where the pass will get in you for other places.  Our zoo pass is good for several zoos and we actually purchased the pass at one of these affiliate zoos because it was less expensive there.  It pays to shop around.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Omma's Brands!

I thought I'd start a new category of Omma's brands.  Like you, I have brands that I believe are tried and true.  And I'll periodically give a "shout out" to these brands.

Since I'm a babywearing Omma, I'll start with baby carriers.  A good carrier is worth its weight in gold.  Don't bother with anything that isn't ergonomically designed for both you and baby (so that means Baby Bjorn is not on my list).

My all time favorite carrier is the chunei.  It is based off the Korean podegi which less skill involved on the wearer's part.  It distributes the weight of your baby/child along your torso and keeps your child in a natural seated position.  My kids and I LOVE this carrier.  The downside of the carrier is that it is not easily adjustable between wearers (it is based on shirt size) so my DH cannot wear this carrier.

For my DH I got him the ErgoBaby Sport carrier.  He is tall and the sport has an extra four inches in the shoulder straps so that the chest strap fits where it should (on his chest).  I can also adjust it down enough for me.  The sport is a lighter-weight material than the original so it breathes better for baby and wearer which is great for summer.  The downside is that it really is a baby carrier instead of a toddler carrier.  The back panel is only 13" x 13" (vs. 16" tall on the chunei).  So as your child grows their legs may become more "pinched" in this carrier as they lose that natural seated position due to their long heavy legs.  Although weight wise it will be difficult to outgrow this as the weight limit is 90 lbs!

Unfortunately most of these "premium" carriers are not available at a regular store.  Which makes it difficult to find the best one.  There are certain babywearing groups that will have periodic meetings where you can try on different member's carriers.  This is the best way to try them out.  Otherwise do research and make the best guess possible (and find a place that will accept your return for a full refund if you hate the carrier).

Two great websites for finding out what carrier is best for your body type and babywearing needs (the first one also has a forum which you need to register for free to see but has more reviews from actual users):


If you are feeling adventurous, you can SEW your own carrier.  Here's a link for various patterns and help: http://www.thebabywearer.com/lists/Sewing.htm

Depending on what you want, it may be cheaper to buy a nice used version rather than make it yourself.  For certain carriers the materials may be expensive.  But price it out, you could make a custom carrier for not a lot of money!  (Just be sure to reinforce all connecting pieces for safety reasons!)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Canning and Freezing

I love summer harvest time!  We can and freeze a lot around here.  We go to local farmer's markets or pick-your-own farms and stock up on fruits, berries, and veggies.  Whatever we can't grow ourselves, we buy locally.

Freezing: Most fruits and berries freeze wonderfully!  Wash them, slice them (for fruits), put them on cookie sheets, flash freeze them, bag them in freezer bags, and stick them in the freezer to have all year long!  (Don't forget to mark the year you froze them, things can get lost in those nice chest freezers.)

Green beans and peas freeze wonderfully too.  These have an added step of blanching them.  That's cooking them just slightly (don't cook completely or you'll have mush) before flash freezing them.

Canning:  Some day I will get a pressure cooker to can more items.  For the moment we use a boiling method to can.  We make our own jams, jellies, and sauces.  I haven't had to buy any of those items since we started making our own.  We also like to give them as gifts.  (Remember my post about gifts?)  You make a small investment in jars and lids and then you need pectin for stability (for jams and jellies).  You can make jams and jellies from just about any fruit or berry you want.  We also use our homegrown tomatoes and peppers to make salsa.

My Grandma first showed me how to can when I was little.  I'd help her pick the berries from Grandpa's garden, wash, mash, strain, etc.  It was wonderful!  (Although I'm sure I was a messy little "helper.")  She never minded, just cleaned up afterward.  The best part was that she would talk me through the steps and explain the why of everything.  I loved this special time with Grandma at the end of summer.  I have several canning recipes from both my Grandma and my DH's Grandma which is a great treasure.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Buy Bulk

I buy just about everything I can in bulk.  I can get organic flour for less than the prepackaged regular stuff.  You can invest in some nice canisters or just have bags in your pantry.  My DH found some great glass canisters on a great deal for flour and sugar so I don't have to haul out a huge bag every time I want to bake.

Some of the regular grocery stores are getting into bulk items.  Just be savvy about it and know if you are actually getting a good deal.  Just because it is in the bulk section doesn't mean it is automatically less expensive (especially if you're considering upgrading to organic).  I have noticed that my local co-op and natural foods stores have more bulk items and for less money.  I can get just about anything bulk.  Dried fruit, protein powder (great for shakes), pasta, flour of every type, cereal, granola, etc.  In fact, I have shopping list for the three stores I visit based upon where I can get the best deal.  They all have bulk but I can get flour cheaper at one place and another has dried fruit for less.  Being organized helps me save money.


Word to the wise about flour, put bay leaves in it.  Don't eat them, but they will keep bugs from visiting, living in, and eating off your flour (more common in spring/summer).  I don't know about you, but I have a hard time eating that flour once bugs have been eating it.  Bay Leaves.  Works every time.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ethnic Foods

Shop your local ethnic food store if you have one.  You may be surprised to see how close one actually is to you.  The foods there cost MUCH less than at your regular grocery store. 

If you do a search and can't find a local grocery store, ask someone at your local ethnic restaurant where the store is hidden.  Chances are they buy from somewhere local and can help you out.

We make many Asian and Mexican dishes and I buy what I need at our local ethnic stores.  My son loves these outings as well as he usually gets a bag of his favorite Korean snack.  ^_^

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dollar Store

A word about dollar stores.  They are not all created equal.  Some are, what I refer to as, the dollar plus store because you may be hard pressed to actually find anything in there that is a dollar.  In fact, the only thing that I like from our local "dollar plus" store are the baby wipes.  Cheapest around.

One dollar store will not be carrying what the dollar store down the street is carrying.  So check them out and see what they have.  I have found that a store tends to carry a "theme" of items.  Perhaps they specialize in crafts, or greeting cards, or house hold items, or car gear, or groceries, etc.  I know which dollar store I need to go to for certain items.

Also, if you're going to a dollar store or a big lots or whatever type of discount store is by you, don't assume it's a good price!  Know your prices.  And if you buy food there, check the expiration dates.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Inexpensive Decorating

I felt like decorating my kitchen.  So I headed to one of my dollar stores, and I picked up some wall decals.  For $3 I got a great looking kitchen!  And I can change it whenever I want.


I have also done stenciling in my house.  This was fun to do and all I did was simply talked around and made it known that I wanted to stencil.  I then got offers from people "oh I have some stencils you can borrow."  Which is great, because the actual stencils are expensive.  So I got to stencil for next to nothing.  I gave the person some money to pay for the paints I used.  No overhead cost to me!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Darn those socks

No really, darn them.  I think this is a lost art.  We throw socks away when they get a hole, we don't sew them back up or darn the holes.  You don't even need fancy equipment, if you don't have a darning ball/mushroom, use a lightbulb.  Then stitch up that sock.  I got many a wary eye in college from people passing my dorm room but I had hole free socks!  If you aren't sure where to start, this video shows the basics.

Friday, January 14, 2011


As we've had a number of illnesses running through our house, we've gone through a fair amount of juice.  So let me tell you about juice!

I first off, love the V8 and Ocean Spray fruit and veggie blends.  I find that Ocean Spray is generally cheaper but sales and coupons sometime make V8 win out.  I have declared this juice "hands off" to everyone but our son.  Super picky eater toddler and this is a way to get some veggies in him.

For the rest of us in the house, we get the frozen concentrate.  Because really, many of the pre-made juices are from concentrate but cost 2-3 times as much.  I stock up when they have them on sale and keep a stash in my deep freezer.  When mixing it I have found that adding 1/2 cup extra of water will make it go a little bit longer.  But generally I can't go a full cup extra as then it looses it's taste quality.  (Again, going to cheap and not staying frugal.)  Unless you like watery tasting juice then have at it!  ^_^

Thursday, January 13, 2011


If you air out your soap it will harden and last longer. I have a mesh bag under my sink with soap. The mesh is small enough to keep the soap clean too.

When you get to the end of a bar of soap, what do you do with it? I like to put it in a sponge. Get a bath sponge at the dollar store, cut a slit in it, put the soap fragments in it, and use it in the shower. It lathers us nicely.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I love coupons!  I love double coupon days! I love free sample days!

Things to know about coupons.

  • If you don't normally buy it, don't bother clipping the coupon for it (the generic brand is probably still cheaper even with the coupon)
  • If you normally buy it, clip it!
  • Organize your coupons and keep it in your purse or with your shopping list (if you can't find the coupon, you can't use it right?) 
  • Find out when double coupon day is at your local store and then shop that day
  • And don't forget to use reusable bags, many places give 5-10 cents a bag (sometimes you have to remind them)
  • What is your favorite brand?  Chances are they have a website and a Facebook page.  Check it out and you can usually get some great coupons through their mailing list, email list, or Facebook special.  (And if it is something you use a lot of, print multiple copies of it to use for future shopping trips.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Did someone give you one of those daily calendars?  It has a fun quote on it every day or a comic or something else.  Keep those and use the backside for notes, shopping lists, doddle pad for the kids, little love notes in your dear hubby's lunch, etc.

Monday, January 10, 2011

When I've Crossed the Line

This post is in memory of my dad who would always remind us "Be frugal, not cheap." 

I usually know when I've "crossed that line" into cheapness.  Like when I bought that value pack of Babies R Us diapers and if I didn't know better I could have sworn that I put the diaper on inside out...(and they weren't all that much more inexpensive than Huggies by the way).  Or that value pack of paper towels of the "Clear Value (R)" brand and they are almost like not using anything at all to clean up messes.  Cheap.  No longer a deal when I have to use twice or more as normal to get the job done.  And I can say that I'm not going to purchase that brand again as I've had a number of bad encounters with their products.  Shortning being another one...

The store brand for many of the same items is only a few cents more and usually of a higher quality so I get that.  But a word to the wise, check the label.  Usually items are very similar but not always.  Sometimes one item will sneak in something nasty like MSG or high fructose corn syrup.  Or maybe they both have HFCS but it is the first or second ingredient for the one and the second to last for the other (thus signifying less of the substance).  I've found that by reading labels I can pick the healthier item and sometimes it surprises me that it is the more generic brand.  So read labels!

There are some things I don't skimp on.  Milk, meat, apples, and potatoes.  All suffer from high levels of something like pesticides, hormones, etc.  Apples and potatoes are the most susceptible to pesticides.  You can't buy everything organic but these are ones you should try to find organic so that you're not feeding your family a vial of nasties with their food.  Both freeze really well too.  I grow potatoes and enjoy them when in season.  When it gets to the end of the season I make a big batch of mashed potatoes and then freeze them in smaller containers.  Lasts until the next season.  Apples work great in sauces, etc.  And those all freeze really well too.  Most areas have a local farmer's market where you can get apples for under $1/lb when in season.

Milk and meat might surprise you.  I have learned through the years, mostly but trial and error, which are good and which are bad.  I have endometriosis and can tell within 30 minutes of eating either of those items if they've had hormones added to them (one of the benefits of having a messed up body ^_~).  I get all my meat from Whole Foods or the Outpost.  I stock up when it is on sale.  If you shop around you can find organic meat for just as cheap as the "other stuff."  I also like Sassy Cow and Whole Food's 365 milk.  And they cost just the same as the "other stuff."  I believe in good milk and meat so much, I will give up most other things before giving these up.  What good is it to save a few pennies or even a dollar if it means feeding your family the equivalent of a birth control pill with every glass of milk or hamburger?  Endo Assoc.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thrifty Fun

As we've been passing around some sort of nasty sickness in our family, I've been a little busy.  So I'm going to cheat and put this nifty saying out from http://www.thriftyfun.com/

Work Smarter Not Harder

Wages used to the best of our ability.
Own outright as much as we can.
Rely on God
Keep finances and financial goals in perspective.

Save what we can honestly set aside each pay.
Measure of our earnings for others.
Advice from the Bible, books, websites, trusted people.
Remember past dollar mistakes and learn from them.
Tithe always. (Always!  Giving up tithing is not a way to save money.  You have an income, you tithe.)
Extra money save half and/or put extra on a bill.
Record what you spend.

Never give up. You may have to regroup, but NEVER give up.
Organization saves $$$ and time.
Thankful for my job and God's provision

Happy with what we have.
Ask before we buy - something else to use? Do we really need?
Realistic goals, set 'em!
Discover what motivates you to save.
Energize and stay focused with short term goals.
Reap the benefits of finances in order.

By Sheryl from Columbus, OH

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Disposals and Sinks

This is a tip from my Grandma S about garbage disposals.  First of all, if you have one (which I currently don't but wish I had) I hope you know you are supposed to run it on occasion.  Always run it with water.

If your garbage disposal starts to smell, run some citrus peels through it.

If you don't have a garbage disposal and your sink starts to smell, pour baking soda and lemon juice down the drain.  Let it sit for a while before running water through it.  Vinegar will also work if you don't have lemon juice but won't smell as nice (in my opinion).