Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Frugal Tips

I am pretty much insanely frugal.  I am getting much worse as I get older.  This frugalness is nearly debilitating when I go yard saling...because everything is a bargain.  Truly...well there are those sales where people are trying to make a fortune, we don't tarry long at those.  $3 for a tshirt???  I can get that deal retail!  I try not to pay over a dollar for anything just to ensure that yard sale prices stay at yard sale rate.  I also honor this when I have yard sales.

I spent $13.50 this last weekend on clothing for my new size.  (I cleared out my closet of things that are too large for me.)  That $13.50 is like, a whole new wardrobe-jeans, sweats, exercise clothes and shirts.  I don't HAVE to shop for clothes at yard sales but I just can't seem to go pay $20 for one thing when I can buy so much more for so much less.  You won't be able to tell they are yard sale finds-many of them still had tags on them.

Tip # 1- Yard Sales are the cheapest place to buy clothes.  Consignment store clearance is next.  Retail clearance is next.  Consignment store regular price is next, but keep in mind that some of those items can be purchased new for about the same price.  Buy very high end quality items.  That way it is not only a bargain, but it will maintain the good looks and usually still have some resale value when you tire of it.  (Not true if you are not buying classic styles!)

I love fresh produce.  I love it best when it comes from my garden or someone else's.  My garden would have been awesome this year if not for crabgrass from h-e-double hockey sticks and a drought that won't quit.  My asparagus is my favorite because it requires almost no work and keeps coming back.  The only drawback is getting it established!  We barely get enough to make a small side dish at a time.  I have high hopes for next year!  I also love the farmer's market.  They tend to price items by the piece, not by the pound.  As in,  a spaghetti squash for a dollar, not $1.29 a pound.  If it is by the pound, I make sure I know what the grocery is selling for.  It is often cheaper to get it at the store under the loss leader (sale ad) price...but usually I will pay a little more just to ensure that I am supporting a local farmer. 

My produce tips:

Tip # 2- Never buy bags of apples.  They are stored and transported in that bag.  They are shuffled and rearranged, chosen, put back, etc.  This means bruising.  The individual apples may cost a little more, but you know they are unblemished and they were shipped in a padded box with a tiny support for each apple.  An orchard is the cheapest, best place but not everyone has one of those close to their home 

Tip # 2 1/2 The opposite is true of oranges-they are almost always cheaper by the bag and can take the jostling.

Tip #3- Don't just pick up those pre-packaged bags of grapes.  Get a produce bag and pick up stems of grapes with fresh tighly clustered grapes.  They will last longer and be crunchier.  Who wants to eat grapes that dropped of the stems and got squished on the bottom of the bag? 

Tip #4- Buy the fruits that are in season when they are in season in America-if possible.  This means they have been shipped from a closer location and not picked quite as green as produce from much farther away.  It may only be a day or so fresher...but a day or two is alot in terms of produce.

Tip #5- Trim your celery as you use a stalk or two.  Trim the very top of each stalk and thinly trim the bottom as well.  This is a trick I learned from being a produce manager a lifetime ago.  It will help your celery shelf life be almost indefinite.  Celery really has very little vitamins and nutrients-it is like iceberg lettuce, so age is kind of irrelevant. 

Tip #6- That living lettuce really does last.  There isn't very much of it, so I don't recommend it for large households.  Just make sure the roots stay moist and it will likely stay fresh until you use ever last piece-mine lasted about 4 weeks.

Tip #7- Washing your potatoes with VERY dilute bleach water, allowing them to sit out and air dry and then storing them in a dry dark place will keep them from rotting and delay 'blooming'.  Break off any eyes that grow-if left in place it will dry out the potato.

Okay, those are my tips to share.  Hope at least one or two is helpful.

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