My Frugal Life: 106 Ways To Save In The Kitchen - Part 1

  1. I don't buy paper products such as napkin, paper plates, paper cups or paper towels. I use "real" products and wash them.
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  3. I plant the largest garden I can manage and harvest a much food from it a possible. This includes several types of beans, corn, tomatoes, watermelon, squashes, okra. I then can and freeze what we can't eat during the garden season for the winter and next spring. We also have an orchard with various fruit trees, a small vineyard, and blueberries.
  4. We try to grow our own meat; this includes beef, fish (in our ponds), pork and poultry.
  5. I have my own chickens and ducks for eggs. I sell the excess eggs. During nice weather, I let the birds free range (eating worms, bugs.) and save on feed.
  6. I watch Freecycle and Craigslist for free or inexpensive kitchen items. I have obtained numerous items this way including a canner, jars, flats and seals, kitchen gadgets, recipe books and even food (a case of soup once-lady bought it by the case then found out she was allergic to one of the ingredients).
  7. I shop Aldi's and bulk stores when I can. The best bulk stores I have found to date are the Amish ones. I can get oatmeal, flour and spices in bulk (up to 50 lbs bags) for way less than in the regular grocery stores. I store what I am not using in the deep freeze to keep fresh and bug free.
  8. I bake our own breads, cakes, pies.
  9. I take note on food dates and rotate them as necessary so that they do not go out of date.
  10. I freeze leftovers for future lunches or meals.
  11. I pack my husbands meals for work.
  12. I make 'scrap soup'. I have a large container in the freezer that I put leftovers of all meats and veggies in. When it is full, I dump it into the stockpot and cook it down for soup. Usually I have to add either beef stock or tomato juice as a base. Sometimes I also add rice or noodles. It is always good, but since leftovers vary, it rarely tastes the same twice.
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  14. I will confess, I am a baggie washer.
  15. I wipe off used foil and put it in my husbands BBQ locker. When he needs it on the grill, he uses this foil instead of new foil.
  16. I save the wax bag liners in cereal boxes. They are great for rolling out dough on, or putting cookies on to cool.
  17. I buy limited amounts of cereal. For breakfast we usually eat eggs or oatmeal. Less sugar and less expensive.
  18. We make our own potholders from fabric leftovers or from old socks - just cut them into loops (yes, that is what potholder loops are made out of!). We also make our own placemats (good sewing project for teaching beginner sewers).
  19. We buy high end appliances for less than the normal costs because we get them at the scratch and dent. You get the same warranty. What difference does it make that the refrigerator has a scratch on the side when it is slid into the cabinet and you can't see it?
  20. I make our own ice for events instead of buying it at $2.19 a bag.
  21. We make our own ice cream and popcicles. I also make my own "shake and bake" and dressings.
  22. I save yogurt containers and such instead of buying the more expensive tupperware containers.
  23. I buy generic on most items, but I also make sure they will be eaten. For example, DH won't eat generic peanut butter on his sandwiches, but he will eat peanut butter cookies with generic peanut butter. So, I buy a small jar for him, and the large institutional size for baking and cooking use.
  24. I try to combine coupons with sale items, but I also compare this price to the generic prices.
  25. I keep my kitchen CLEAN to avoid sicknesses caused by improper food handling. I have one cutting board just for meat use and it gets cleaned with bleach. I run vinegar with every load of dishes for a disinfectant.
  26. I try to bulk bake and bulk cook, then freeze items if need be.
  27. When cooking during the winter months, I can turn down the heat a few degrees. Usually when I bake, the kids are all gathered in the kitchen anyway (playing a board game waiting for bowls to lick) and the stove keeps us warm.
  28. I don't use a food coop (because I don't want to pay the fees), but I have friends who do, and I can sometimes split items with them (such as a 100 lb bag of flour, or 25 lbs of pecans). Also, since some of them get a rebate at the years end based on how much they bought, then are more than happy to buy an item or so for me when I ask them to (yes, I pay them for it).
  29. I don't buy junk food or soda. Yet, we still eat snacks. We make cupcakes, popcorn and our own potato chips. I don't buy chips, candy, gum (grandmas do that for me!)
  30. I wait till the dishwasher is full to run it.
  31. I turn off my oven, or burners several minutes before my item is done cooking. Most items will continue to cook in the heat already generated.
  32. All my kitchen lights are CFL or LED bulbs to save electricity.
  33. Kitchen scraps are given to the animals (chickens love them) - helps save on pet food and feed
  34. I cook from scratch, and I bake from scratch.
  35. I use our crockpot and microwave a lot - saves energy over the stove and oven.
  36. Take advantage of "free" foods, such as nuts, wild berries, mushrooms. Just be sure you know what they are, if they were sprayed, and if it's not your land, get permission.
  37. We grow our own herbs and sprout our own sprouts for salads. This is one of my kids projects.
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Source: Just ideas I have done throughout the years.

By April from NW Missouri

Editor's Note: Follow this link to see the second part of the list.

The third part of this list will be posted next week.

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml

September 6, 20080 found this helpful

OMG! I think that you're my long-lost sister. We must be related somehow. Can't wait to read the second half--hoping you do something I overlooked and can start...

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September 8, 20080 found this helpful

I would like to know how you make your own potato chips. My kids love them but it's expensive to buy and it's not healthy.

Also, how do you make pot holders from old socks? Sounds like a fun project.

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September 8, 20080 found this helpful

You are amazing! It was very informative and thank you for posting!

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September 8, 20080 found this helpful

You are absolutely fantastic ! I live on 5 acres in country Queensland in Australia, and can't grow a thing - except for native flowering trees, which are wonderful, but the ground is solid clay. I've tried growing veges, but despite all the clay breakers I've bought its just throwing good money after bad. I live on a pension, and though I could have chickens I'd need to make sure they were well secured as we have foxes and dingos and snakes here, and buildinga decent and happy home for them would be expensive. The best I can do is bulk shopping at Aldi - 25 miles away - and generic brands at other places. I do make menu plans, and have cooking days where I make meals to freeze for about two weeks. I feel very envious of your lovely semi-sufficient life. It must be hard work, but so very rewarding. Well done. You deserve being happy, and I hope it goes on forever for you.

All best wishes, Leah, from Down Under

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September 8, 20080 found this helpful

Wow. I am so impressed. I'm not going to say how lucky you are, because I'm sure you've worked really hard there, but take a thought for those who would love to do what you are doing and can't. Me, older age group, single, no garden, no yard, no car, no freezer. I live in a second floor (rented) apartment surrounded by a concrete carpark.

However I do have a balcony and can grow a few things in pots. I recycle, re-use and live simply.

Each according to their means.

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September 9, 20080 found this helpful

Oh, how I wish I was able to do that. Just curious; how are you able to stay home and do that? I so long to be able to be home to cook for my husband, and have more time to bake but have to work long hours with only weekends to do the basics.

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September 9, 20080 found this helpful

Your frugal life is amazing and impressive! I'm a packrat and pretty frugal too, and I'd love to ask you some questions about how you do stuff.

16. How do you make the potholders. Could you please give a few easy directions?

19. Could you please post your recipe for making your own shake and bake mix?

27. How do you make your own potato chips?

Thanks so much. I admire your frugal living efforts and I look forward to the second installment of your list.

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September 10, 20080 found this helpful

Blue Alt--I am not April but here are a couple of recipes for copy cat Shake and Bake that I have.

Versatile Coating Mix

3/4 cup dry bread crumbs

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup dried parsley flakes

3 T cornmeal

1 T dried minced onion

3/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

3 T shortening

Combine the first 10 ingredients in a bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Store in airtight container in cool dry place or freeze for up to 6 months. Makes 3 cups. Use to coat chicken, fish, or even pork

Home Made Shake and Bake

4 cups flour

4 cups soda crackers, crushed

4 Tbsp. salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

3 Tbsp. paprika

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix well & store indefinitely in refrigerator in a covered container. Moisten chicken pieces w/milk or water. Pour about 2 cups mixture or more if needed, into a plastic bag. Bake coated chicken pieces in greased shallow pan @350° for 45-60 minutes. Discard plastic bag w/unused coating. DO NOT reuse extra coating that has come in contact w/raw chicken.

You can find more copy cat recipes at http://www.topsecretcopycatrecipes.com/

You can purchase a square loom at Hobby Lobby, maybe even WalMart to make the pot holders. We used to make them as kids. The looms are maybe 8" square with teeth on the top and you stretch the loops to fit over the teeth from top to bottom. Then you weave a loop over and under from side to side. When complete to "cast off" and voila, pot holder.

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September 10, 20080 found this helpful

Blue Alt--I am not April but here are a couple of recipes for copy cat Shake and Bake that I have.

Versatile Coating Mix

3/4 cup dry bread crumbs

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup dried parsley flakes

3 T cornmeal

1 T dried minced onion

3/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

3 T shortening

Combine the first 10 ingredients in a bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Store in airtight container in cool dry place or freeze for up to 6 months. Makes 3 cups. Use to coat chicken, fish, or even pork

Home Made Shake and Bake

4 cups flour

4 cups soda crackers, crushed

4 Tbsp. salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

3 Tbsp. paprika

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix well & store indefinitely in refrigerator in a covered container. Moisten chicken pieces w/milk or water. Pour about 2 cups mixture or more if needed, into a plastic bag. Bake coated chicken pieces in greased shallow pan @350° for 45-60 minutes. Discard plastic bag w/unused coating. DO NOT reuse extra coating that has come in contact w/raw chicken.

You can find more copy cat recipes at http://www.topsecretcopycatrecipes.com/

You can purchase a square loom at Hobby Lobby, maybe even WalMart to make the pot holders. We used to make them as kids. The looms are maybe 8" square with teeth on the top and you stretch the loops to fit over the teeth from top to bottom. Then you weave a loop over and under from side to side. When complete to "cast off" and voila, pot holder.

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September 11, 20080 found this helpful

Sandi Jo in KC - thanks so much for the copycat link and the recipes for the shake & bake! Also, thanks for the potholder info. I had made the potholders as a kid also and did not know that the looms were still around. Thank you, Sherry in GA

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September 11, 20080 found this helpful

Sorry I forgot to sign in, so my post as a guest is going to the moderator.

Sandi Jo in KC, thank you for the shake & bake recipes and also for the copycat link. I didn't know the potholder looms were still around...I had made them as a kid too. I'll check them out next time I'm at walmart. Thanks,

Sherry in GA

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September 15, 20080 found this helpful

To make your own potato chips, slice the chips fairly thin. Drop into a deep fat fryer till golden.

Sometimes after we fry a turkey we will do this in the turkey fryer as well.

Before they cool, sprinkle on salt, or cheese.

You can also do this with sweet potatoes--but since they contain sugar they need to be cut a little thicker and not cooked quite a long.

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September 15, 20080 found this helpful

My shake and bake has seasonings similar to what is posted above, but I save and use the crumbs left from bread and from the bottom of the cereal boxes.

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December 22, 20080 found this helpful

Here's another frugal saver: If you can manage a single crochet stitch (very easy, see here http://www.craftown.com/crolesson.htm ), you can make dish/counter cleaning cloths from a bit of string or cotton yarn. I have been known to unravel from an otherwise ruined cotton sweater and use that. Just use a med hook, and crochet a firm square with single or half double stitch, about 6"x6". Easy beginner project.They clean without scratching (not heavy pots though), and wash up in the laundry. No more stinky sponges that are made of godknowswhat.

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