Vol 2, Original posting dates from June 21, 2009 – June 6, 2010

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 1 – June 21, 2009 (original issue date)

 

Happy Birthday to the Thrifty Sister!  We turned one last week…

 

Karen has written a hysterical list of how not to be thrifty!

 

As I go through life, I keep finding ways on how not to do things and think I could almost get enough bad lessons to write a book.  Therefore, I thought I would share of few of my “how not to be thrifty” moves:

#1) Haul a u-haul on your car while you move.  The smaller the car, the quicker the car will die.

#2) From the memoirs of Jeff, co-sign on your girlfriend’s car.  It will bite you in the butt 3 years later and will stick with you for a total of 7 years on your credit report to remind you everyday for 10 years of your mistake.  Congratulations Jeff, this year you are free of your mistake.

#3) Always move across the country without having a job.

#4) Try to get a degree in “midwife”.  You will get your student loans forgiven.  Honestly, whose job is it to make up the most random careers that should get student loans forgiven?

#5) If anybody wants to take your Polaroid picture in a foreign country, they are expecting money for it.

#6) Always make it a point to forget your purse wherever you go.  Try big cities, for an extra thrill to see how fast you can get it stolen.

#7) Name your son or daughter names that are never used anymore or were never names in the first place.  You will always get a free rose at flower shops.  “If your name is Lesbo, please come in for a free rose”.  Jeff and I honestly saw that sign one day.  “If your name is Napkin, please come in for your free rose”.

#8) Always travel on the busiest interstate in the nation during a traffic accident while being late to the airport for your international travel..  You will thank yourself for not taking the extra time to leave early when you are told to go home from the airline.

#9) Make it a point to forget your lunch when you go to work.  You will feel good, knowing you spent 10 minutes to pack it, 15 minutes getting fast food that settles like sludge down the drain, and knowing your lunch is currently being eaten by a rodent beagle at home.

#10) Never listen to good advice.  After all, what do they know?

 

And on that point, today I am proud to have randomly hopped into a real-estate mecca.  Silverdale/Bremerton will be the fast appreciating real estate in the nation over the decade.  I’m not anticipating this may be the best prospect on foreign relations, as we hone the 3rd biggest amount of nuclear arsenal in the world.  Bremerton has 30,000 people, but grew to over 200,000 during World War 2.

 

Here are the markets in the United States in which home appreciation is expected to grow handsomely in the next decade, according to U.S. News & World Report. The markets are followed by the projected annual percentage change in home prices from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2018:

 

1. Bremerton-Silverdale: 5.22 percent

2. Glens Falls, N.Y: 4.71 percent

3. Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.: 4.06 percent

4. Corvallis, Ore.: 3.95 percent

5. Anchorage, Alaska: 3.8 percent

6. Duluth, Minn.: 3.74 percent

7. Sandusky, Ohio: 3.66 percent

8. Santa Fe, N.M: 3.57 percent

9. Pittsfield, Mass.: 3.51 percent

10. Decatur, Ill.: 3.44 percent

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 2 – July 3, 2009 (original issue date)

 

Greetings Thrifty Sisters and Happy 4th of July!

 

Here is an interesting web site to check on your sun block…. Does your sunscreen work?

http://www.ewg.org/cosmetics/report/sunscreen09?utm_source=ss-test2&utm_medium=email&utm_content=first-link&utm_campaign=toxics

 

And thanks to Mary for submitting this article about how to make your own laundry detergent:

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/04/09/making-your-own-laundry-detergent-a-detailed-visual-guide/

 

It is a neat article, complete with pictures (yeah for a storybook with photos for Lora… and a video!) with comparison and contrast of their product vs tide (you should guess which one is better before you read through the article!)

 

And of course, here are some good tips about junk mail.  Things have been hectic at the homestead this summer… I judge how “crazy” life is by how bad the mail pile has gotten by the time I get around to sifting through it.  This time around, the pile was almost two weeks old and it literally took me over an hour to open and sort through mostly junk and shredding items.  What a complete waste of time and resources!  REALLY!!!! 

 

Did you know that Each American receives almost 560 pieces of junk mail per year – I think that I probably had about 25% of my allotment over the past couple of weeks!  And annually, 100 million trees are used to make junk mail.  Wow – that’s a lot of work to just wind up on my kitchen counter to be thrown away (well, recycled!)  And on average every American wastes about 8 hours per year dealing with junk mail.  Hmmm, I am thinking that this might be a low estimate.

 

So how do we fix this?  There are several places that I have found to help, some are free and some require a fee.  I like free so I am listing those first.

 

https://www.directmail.com/directory/mail_preference/

http://www.catalogchoice.org/

https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t

http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org/stop-yellow-pages/

$20 a year –

http://mailstopper.tonic.com/

 

Well, Sisters, have a happy 4th of July!  Keep is safe and thrifty this weekend as you apply LOTS of sun block and use your new home made laundry detergent to get all of the food and firework stains out of clothing (tip: NOTHING gets burn marks from the 4th out of clothing…) and think about opting out of some of that junk mail! – Lora.

 

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 3 – July 10, 2009 (original issue date)

 

Greetings and happy upcoming weekend to all of the Sisters out there!  Some of you may be asking why is the newsletter showing up prior to the weekend… this weekend we are heading to UNL to drop off JJ at band camp, visit Sonya and JJ and I are running our first road race, called the Lincoln Mile.  So, in preparation for this weekend, I wanted to get the TS out early as I am probably going to be driven home on Sunday with ice pack compressed to my shins.  Ha!

 

The laundry detergent recipe seemed to be a big hit with several of you writing back to say that you were going to be making your own in the near future.  It seems like most of you are opting for the powder version and I will include a recipe for that further in the letter.  Still, a really interesting concept!

 

This is a note from Cindy – “Just last week someone was telling me about making their own detergent.  This week when I get back from my sons I will be making some, but mine will be dry.  One box Borax, One box Washing Soda and a ground of bar of Fels-Naptha.  One lady has a front loader machine and only uses 2 Tablespoons and another uses 1/4 cup.”

 

Here is a site that gives both the dry and wet detergent recipes

http://natural-products.suite101.com/article.cfm/washing_clothes_for_pennies

 

How about 10 more tips on how to make you own…

http://tipnut.com/10-homemade-laundry-soap-detergent-recipes/

 

and if you haven’t had enough about washing soda, you can read

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-wonders-of-washing-soda.html

 

As promised, here is a quick easy dry detergent recipe… as you can see there are a lot of varieties on the same thing, so there must be some room for error on your measuring skills!  Ha

 

Powdered Detergent

2 cups finely grated soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax

1. Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.

2. Use 2 tablespoons per full load.

And with that, Sisters, I am on my squeaky clean, ever so thrifty way out of here!  Have a fabulous weekend!

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 4 – July 19, 2009 (original issue date)

 

Now that everyone is enjoying their new laundry soap, I thought I would shift gears and take us out to the garage… to our cars, specifically.  We all know that fixing is better than buying when it comes to being frugal, and let’s face it, all of our cars have quirks.  Some have more than others. 

 

Let’s take my poor, poor Blazer, for example.  What a great car it has been!  I love that car.  Did you know that over the course of the past few years it has actually started developing new features?  Is that not the most amazing thing you have ever heard of! 

 

The first feature it developed was that it decided to became “green” and disengaged a working air conditioner – saving me both gas to run the AC and exhaust fumes, I am sure!  What a smart car!  Then we had the on-again off- again working radio.  Now it doesn’t work at all, but I believe it is to give me some zen-like time to myself.  Really, who couldn’t use more peace and quiet in their lives?!?!  I also like the new feature that it developed right before summer – it is the anti-rain window.  If your window won’t roll down, you can’t possibly leave it open during a rain storm.  The latest window feature is the passenger ventilation… since both passenger windows would not roll up today, my passengers should always have plenty of air flow.  And my favorite new feature that it has developed within the last several months is the dirty window sensor.  The windshield wipers are so smart, that they know when the windshield is dirty and removes that dirt for me – all on their own!  Amazing!  Talk about a smart car!

 

I found this list of “16 (potentially) deadly car noises”… it is like having my dad in your computer right now… he is great at identifying car problems once you describe the sound!  Here is the list.  Remember, ignoring the symptom won’t make the problem magically go away. Delay can provide the time for a problem to worsen, and that usually translates into a bigger and more expensive repair – and that is NOT thrifty!

Any sound when turning a corner: More than likely this is related to the steering linkage. It either needs lubricating or is damaged and requires replacement.

Clunking when braking: A brake caliper or other hardware is damaged, missing or improperly mounted.

Flapping: This could either be something interfering with the fan or a belt disintegrating.

Grinding manual transmission when shifting: This is probably a clutch issue. It either is worn or requires adjusting. It could also indicate a deeper problem within the transmission.

Hissing or sizzling under the hood: Heard when the engine is first shut off, something is leaking. Coolant or oil could be leaking onto a heated engine part, such as the exhaust manifold; a vacuum line could be leaking; or the engine could be overheating.

Knocking from engine compartment: It’s a myth that there are benefits from using a higher-octane gasoline in your vehicle than the owner’s manual specifies; however, using a lower-grade fuel can very well produce engine knock. Follow the owner’s manual requirements in all things oil, gasoline and tire air pressure.

Loud bang: If the sound is as if someone put a cherry bomb in your tailpipe, it’s a backfire. It could be the air-fuel mixture is too rich. It could also indicate that the catalytic converter isn’t functioning properly.

Low-pitch humming under the car: This could have any number of causes. If it changes with acceleration, the differential may need lubricant, the transmission may be failing, the universal joints may be worn or a wheel bearing could be shot. The problem is, the sounds under a vehicle tend to reverberate and echo to the point that it’s impossible for a lay person to determine the source.

Popping from the engine compartment: An array of issues could be responsible, particularly if the sound is accompanied by some engine hesitation. The checklist includes ignition problem, clogged fuel filter, worn or dirty spark plugs, damaged spark plug wires or a compromised catalytic converter.

Rattles from beneath the vehicle: It could be a loose exhaust system or even loose brake pads.

Roaring that increases with acceleration: The first thing to check is the exhaust system; it could be damaged. Transmission issues could be another cause. In an automatic, perhaps it’s not advancing to the next gear. With a manual transmission, the clutch could be slipping.

Squealing or chirping on acceleration: This usually indicates a belt or belts are loose and slipping. It could also mean the drive pulley for an accessory such as the water pump has become misaligned.

Squealing wheels when applying brakes: This could have a number of causes from something as simple as dirt on the brake rotors, pads or shoes to something more ominous, such as badly worn pads or shoes. It could also be from a wear-indicator on a pad signaling that it is time for new brake pads. No matter the cause, it’s a safety issue and requires attention.

Scraping or grinding when applying brakes: If the squealing has turned into scraping, that usually indicates bare metal rubbing against bare metal. The brake pads are shot! Every application of the brake pedal is damaging at least one of the rotors.

Tapping or clicking from the engine compartment: The most obvious problem — and easiest to remedy — is that the engine is low on oil. Check the oil level. If that is OK, the problem could be a loss of oil pressure somewhere in the system. It could also indicate some blockage due to crud in the system. If it’s not an oil issue, more than likely it’s related to the valve train. The valves may need adjusting or perhaps the lifters are collapsed.

Whining (from the car, not the kids!): This can often indicate excessive differential or transmission wear.

If you have made it this far, congrats – you made it to the end of yet another TS newsletter!  Have a great and thrifty week!

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 5 – July 26, 2009 (original issue date)

 

Karen wrote:

So have you made the laundry detergent yet that is homemade? I haven’t. I guess, because I only go through one of those bottles every 6 months and it’s not a big spender on my list.  This week on thrifty sister I would like to address, the too-thrifty of a sister. How thrifty does one have to be to be too thrifty? I once heard that once we buy furniture, we become married to it. I believe this to be true, as Jeff and I still have the coffee table we bought from 2003 for $5 at a rummage sale by Lora and Sean’s apartment complex. We hauled that stupid coffee table many, many places.  However, there is no golden rule that one has to remain married to a  $5 coffee table for the rest of their lives. It’s odd to think that in this day and age, 1 out of 2 marriages will end in divorce, but I guarantee that coffee table will remain there forever. My point is that too often do we hold onto things, because they are not currently breaking down and do the job. However, I guarantee when Jeff goes out and gets his big cool, plasma TV he was not waiting for his last TV to break down. He really didn’t think about it and just got it. The thrifty sister will have an ulcer before she decides to purchase anything over $50.  So, my question is how thrifty is too thrifty? Do you have a too-thrifty story that you would like to add?

 

Lora Replied:

Can you be too thrifty!?  I suppose that could be someone’s case, but we all have things that we are “ok” splurging on, so are we really all that thrifty?  (ooooo, deep thoughts!  And if a thrifty tree fell in the forest, how thrifty is it?)

 

I am a firm believer in keeping things till they are no longer useful, durable, dependable or recyclable.  Sean and I were just chatting about how nice the furniture in our living room is still holding up, and that was my BIG purchase shortly after graduation, so that furniture is now roughly 11 years old now!  And I am in no hurry to buy another living room set just because my furniture is 11 years old.  It still works, I still like it and I have not ruined it yet.  Why bother furniture shopping?! 

 

Now, technology and tv’s change all the time, and I am sure that it fun to have some of the latest toys, but really, how often do coffee tables change?  I can see where one can justify an upgrade for a new tv, but might not really think much of their coffee table until one day it breaks. 

 

So, can one be too thrifty?  Are you emotionally attached to things like favorite shoes, jeans, t-shirts, cars, etc?  I am.  It is hard to get rid of things that have so many fond memories, but when it is worn out, I need to “let go” and find a new use for it or donate it or make it into something more useful.  Basically, the memories are still there, but the clutter has to go!  So, can a thrifty sister also be a clutter bug?

 

Oh, this is a deep and thoughtful issue this week!  WOW!

 

Thoughts, sisters????

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 6 – August 9, 2009 (original issue date)

 

From Karen:

This week on thrifty sister I continue my profound financial conundrum which asks the question, “Is there a right time to be thrifty?”. 82% of people have no money in savings. But during a recession, is it really wise to save or to spend?

Everyone knows to buy low and sell high, but to put this into application is much harder than we think, because our lives don’t work in terms of supply and demand. Your car doesn’t know if it’s a recession or not when it decides to break down for good.  However, my advise is if you have it-spend it. Right now is the time to buy a home at an $8000 rebate from taxes and cash-for-clunkers allows us to buy a great car at an all-time low price. General contractors are begging for jobs and with an all-time low for construction materials, bidding, and general competition, now is the time to get your roof repaired, or whatever. Heck, they may even do a half-decent job, considering they need your money. However, wherever we go, we hear-save, save, save. When the economy goes back up, so
will prices for furniture, cars, construction, housing, airlines, etc.  Therefore, my philosophy is that when the economy is doing great, this is not the time to be buying the high-priced items that you long awaited for, because you believe that somehow you will be “saved” by the stability of the economy. Remember, Enron, mergers, and outsourcing. Therefore, you are never really safe, but at least prices are cheaper during a recession. And if your car decides to quit “right now”, consider yourself blessed (of course, if you have the money-otherwise you’re screwed).

Is it good to save? Of course it is. But to be too thrifty may mean losing out on opportunities.

 

From Lora:

Wow – who put you in charge of Deep Thoughts of the Thrifty Sister!  (ha)  That is some hefty thinking there, Sister Karen!

 

Being thrifty does not make one choose to loose out on opportunities, but rather make one think about their choices and make the best options for them and their families based upon what they consider thrifty and smart.  If you can’t afford to do something like re-roof your house, it does not really make sense to re-roof just because things are cheaper now.  You can’t save money if you dig yourself deeper into debt.  But what if you find a super good deal and you actually wind up saving loads on cash in the long run if you go into debt now?  Then I imagine that individual has to consider all things and decide what is best in the end.  In this example, are you making a better choice on your investment?

 

You are right, your car does not know when it is a “good” time to break down (they usually pick the absolute worst time to bottom out).  But as my very wise neighbor said, it is much smarter to start looking ahead of time, while you can look on your own terms rather than having to purchase the first affordable thing because you have too.  (Thanks, Kim!)  It comes back to being wise in your choices and your money.

 

On a completely random note, here is a life lesson recently learned after a “small” spill that I am STILL cleaning up after…  who would have thought that finger nail polish splatters so badly… Fingernail polish remover is ok to clean up a spill in the bathroom, off the toilet, the linoleum, but not a “smart move” to use of real wood, no matter how fast you think you can wipe it back off.  If you have made this terrible mistake, you can fix it up nicely by using an Old English Scratch Cover that works like a wood stain.  This stain comes in a dark wood color and a lighter wood stain color.  I bought my bottle for about $4.00 and I think it will last forever.  It also does a great job in returning a luster to old wood (like in my bedroom set) and can cover up other wood accidents like leaving a water glass on the wood finish.  (oops!)

 

And this is from Johnny:

I just wanted to share that I bought those “dryer balls” as seen on tv from the local grocery store, and a cheaper version from walmart… and they DO work! 🙂 No more need to waste money buying dryer sheets over and over. I do extra large loads and keep four in the dryer, I only have to run the clothes through one cycle now and they are not full of static….

Also, is it ok to ask the list if I can get some wedding supplies if anyone has any to give away????

 

If you would like to contact Johnny, please reply back to me and I will forward your information along to her!

 

With that, I hope you are all keeping it thoughtful and thrifty this week!

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 7 – September7, 2009 (original issue date)

 

Wow – It has been a long time since I have updated the TS!  Sorry about that!  School is fully underway, including our first in-uniform marching performance.  Happy Labor Day to everyone!  Ok, let’s get down to business and get thrifty once again!

 

Here’s a comment from Mollie –

I enjoy making my own bread in the bread maker from time to time.  There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly baking bread!!  Does anyone know if I’m actually saving any money by doing this? 

 

From Lora –

Here is an interesting article about how you can save money (including the electricity to use your bread machine)… So, I would say, yes, you are saving money!  (whee!)  And how timely is this, since I noticed that our weekend highs this upcoming weekend are going to be in the mid 60’s.  Time to get our machines back out and rev them up.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4621168_save-money-bread-machine.html

And here is one from thrifty fun… how cute is that?!?!?

http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf607968.tip.html

And for the Gluten Free folks out there…

http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/12/first-loaf-in-my-gluten-free-bread.html

 

 

Here is an interesting email that I received from Heidi. It was thought provoking enough to share, and it fit right into the whole thrifty sister thing. 

 

A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn’t slow a train very much, a billion of them would.   With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by a good American.     
   
Good idea . . .   one light bulb at a  time . . . .

Check this out . I can verify this because I was in Lowes the other day for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at the hose attachments. They were all made in China.  The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for the heck of it I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in USA. Start looking.
  
 Throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use every day that are made right here and for a good price!

In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else – even his or her job. So, after reading this email, I think this lady is on the right track. Let’s get behind her!

My grandson likes Hershey’s candy. I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more. My favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico now.  I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything.

This past weekend I was at Kroger. (Can be true for any store.)  I needed 60W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets. I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off brand labeled, “Everyday Value.” I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats – they were the same except for the price. The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was made in – get ready for this – the USA in a company in Cleveland, Ohio.

Then on to another aisle – Bounce Dryer Sheets . . . yep, you guessed it, Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada . The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using for years and at almost half the price!

My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA – the job you save may be your own or your neighbors!

If you accept the challenge, pass this on to others in your address book so we can all start buying American, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies!

(We should have awakened a decade ago . . . . . .  )

Let’s get with the program . . . . Help our fellow Americans keep their jobs and create more jobs here in the U. S. A.

 

Thanks for reading a VERY late edition of the Thrifty Sister.  I will try to send another edition out before I head to Texas next weekend… I am told that I am heading to the heaven of Thrift Stores, and I can hardly wait!  Keep on being thrifty, sisters!

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 8 – September 20, 2009 (original issue date)

 

From Karen:
I had a question. The spiders every fall set up webs around the mailbox, around the garbage, around the deck, and I even found a spider in a web in my car. I could not manage to kill him while driving, but did smack him, and now he is an angry spider in my car.  Is there any way to get rid of these things? Cheeto (the cat) is not doing his job. I think Jeff bought a can of Raid last year, it seemed to work for a few weeks, and then they came back. Who needs Halloween decorations when you can have the real ones =(

 

From Lora:

 

Ugh – Spiders!  I KNOW that they are beneficial for your yard and garden, but yuck!  That is one thing that totally creeps me out and I am down right afraid of them.  And are they out in full force this fall – we have webs everywhere including all over the lawn.  There is nothing less pretty in the fall when you are gazing out of your window looking at the fall dew on the grass contrasted with the fall leaves and seeing about a dozen spider webs all over your yard!

 

This web site has some good ideas from controlling spiders to using natural oils as “sprays”, along with homemade recipes. 

http://byfaithonly.com/Spiders.html

 

Although, Karen, you are right.  If we just leave it all alone, we have already let Mother Nature decorate for the upcoming Halloween!  Just throw out a few pumpkins and let the spiders do their work.

 

And here is a neat idea from Johnny for a substitute for Shelf Paper:
If you want to put something that won’t tear under your pots and pans, try cheap vinyl tiles. Cut them to fit your shelf space and peel off the backing. Simply wipe clean.

 

So after we clean our pots and pans shelves and make sure there are no spiders living in there, we should have a thrifty and spider “safe” week… yeah, yeah, don’t even bother sending me the statistics about how we are always a foot away from 10 spiders and how many we eat in our sleep – seriously folks!  I can’t handle that!  J

 

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 9 – September 28, 2009 (original issue date)

 

This one is from Johnny concerning spider control:

in the fall there are always “hedge” balls in the store, not sure what they are but they are the size of oranges, light green and bumpy all over.  For the past ten years I’ve been buying them every fall and hiding them in corners of the house and they seem to keep some of the spiders away… not totally but a reduction is better than nothing! 🙂 Especially the way they seem to be flocking in right now! 🙂

 

From Lora:

Oh yeah – I forgot about those things… I always wondered if they work or not.  And Sean says that we don’t eat spiders in our sleep, that this is considered to an urban myth.  It has to do with the fact that our mouths are warm and there is constant air flow and that spiders would not find that a safe place to crawl into. Myth Busters, anyone?!?!?

 

Here are some tidbits that come in my email box about keeping your carpets fresh and tips with those of us with pets…

 

How to remove pet odors and other stains from your carpet –

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/remove-stains-and-pet-odors-from-rug.html

 

For neutralizing Cat accidents –

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/neutralizing-cat-odors.html

 

Have a great and thrifty week still keeping the spiders out, and having a great time cleaning our carpets!

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 10 – October 25, 2009 (original issue date)

 

From Karen –

Hello thrifty sisters!  These last couple of weeks I did 2 thrifty things, both health care related. I picked up 3 months worth of my omeprazole (acid reflux medicine) in a 3 month supply and it was the pharmacy lady who recommended it – go pharmacy lady!!  I also took Charlie to the walk-in shot time at Pet Smart to get him his rabies shot. This is nice, because you only pay for the cost of the shot-not the extra $35 for the office visit. Now, if my cat could stop hiding from me every Sunday from 11am-1pm, I could herd him in to get it, as well.

I also wrote a list of tax deductions that I will look into:  Sales tax for ANY car purchased in 2009, reinvestment dividends (helps now that I have a retirement plan), used to be state sales tax that you could deduct previous years, which my turbo tax didn’t tell me about – now it is unsure if this will continue for next tax season.

 

Thanks, Karen for the thrifty update and tips!  Sounds like we should be checking into those options, as well.

 

This one is a little tib-bit that I caught off the Rachel Ray show (I normally don’t get to watch afternoon programming, but I wanted to check in on the winter weather updates that afternoon), and this caught my eye.  Rachel suggests taking old baggies and blowing them up with a straw, sealing them, and then using it to package items in the mail.  WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!

 

This next bit of into was inspired by Johnny’s question that she posted a while ago.  This is from Martha Stewart’s weekly newspaper Q and A.

http://www.courant.com/features/home-garden/hc-homemartha1002.artoct02,0,7450682.story

October 2, 2009

Q: Can dairy products be frozen?

A: Dairy products are best consumed fresh and, for the most part, do not take well to freezing. Although milk can be frozen for up to three months, this may result in an altered consistency after thawing. Guidelines for semihard and hard cheeses are similar; the flavor may not be sacrificed, but the texture likely will be more crumbly. Soft cheeses such as cottage cheese and ricotta shouldn’t be frozen at all, nor should buttermilk, cream, sour cream or yogurt.

Butter is a notable exception. Freezing isn’t just a viable option, it’s recommended if the butter won’t be used right away. After you purchase it, store a two-week supply in the original packaging in the refrigerator. (The designated butter compartment in the door is not an ideal location, because it’s usually a few degrees warmer than the main part, which should be set to a temperature lower than 40 degrees.) Seal the remaining sticks in freezer bags, which tend to be moisture and vapor proof, and freeze for up to three months. When it’s nearly time for another stick, transfer one to the fridge, and let it thaw overnight.

Who would have ever known?!

Thanks for reading through another Thrifty Sister.  Sorry the editions have been so sporadic.  The RHS Marching season is done, so now the only thing vying for my time will be the upcoming concert crazy seasons between the professional groups I am playing with and my little angles at the schools and university!

Until next time , keep it warm and thrifty!

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 11 – November 29, 2009 (original issue date)

 

Hmmm, This is almost becoming a monthly newsletter!  Sorry!  Concert crazies are upon our household, and oh boy, oh boy, ‘tis the season!  In fact, I write this particular newsletter BEFORE today’s concert, in hopes that I will have more creative energy and the adrenaline will not wear out prior to the concert.  When I have thought about writing the newsletter after a concert, I usually just fall asleep on the sofa.

 

Speaking of the seasons, let’s talk about decorating.  This year I was not in the mood for holiday decorations (I am hoping for one more camping trip and eagerly waiting for the tulips to pop up!  I am afraid it will be a long winter!).  But with a few pumpkins and some garden baskets full of gourds, things sure look harvest-y around here.  I even repurposed a crate that I usually put plants in during the summer, cleaned it up, clipped up raffeta to look like hay and in went 9 little gourds and pumpkins.  Now that Thanksgiving is gone, and the gourds are composting on their own, it is time to shift gears. 

 

Decorating with “nature made” items was super easy, and since I didn’t put out a lot, clean up will be a breeze!  Consider taking that same philosophy on for the Christmas season.  In addition, by using nature-made items, all your decorations can go back to nature, and you might even reduce your clutter!

 

Want to make a garland this year?  Check out

http://www.marthastewart.com/275520/christmas-garlands/@center/307034/christmas-workshop

 

Ask Martha how to make a pine cone wreath…

http://www.marthastewart.com/article/pinecone-wreath

So, for all those in the neighborhood, the composting pumpkins and gourds will find their way to the compost bin, and SOMETHING Christmas-y should appear in the near future – after all of the concerts and such…   For the rest of you, enjoy this Christmas season.  Start a family tradition of making your own wreath or making some new ornaments! 

And for those who still have pumpkins, here is a recipe for “A Rejuvenating Seasonal Mask” –

Make a nourishing, and gently exfoliating facial mask: Mix in a blender 1/4 cup organic pumpkin leftover from carving, 2 tsp. honey for dry skin/ or apple cider vinegar for oily, and 2 tablespoons rough cut oatmeal.  Mix well. Smooth on skin and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse well with warm water. Pat dry.

Remember to keep it thrifty and fun this holiday season!  Lora.

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 12 – December 13, 2009 (original issue date)

 

Greetings and Merry Christmas from my home to yours!  The holiday season is upon us and I hope that each of you are taking the opportunity to think thrifty and eco savvy as you purchase gifts for your loved ones and wrap them up.

 

As many of you know, I absolutely love to wrap presents!  And what a great way to expand you collection of wrapping goodies, but to save and re-use the items that have been gifted to you in the past.  I am not too proud to save Christmas paper, ribbons, bows, boxes, bags, etc and give them back later in the year!

 

Many places (even the most advanced of recycling centers) cannot recycle ribbons and gift paper.  Think to your Christmas days past and think about how much fuller your garbage bins were the week after Christmas vs. the week before.  By taking back and reusing even just one sheet of that paper means that you saved one more item from the landfills, and saved yourself a few bucks later when you reuse that paper!  And ribbon – can you imagine how much ribbon we use?  If you can save it, just think of all of the fun you can have with it down the road!

 

The following is reprinted from the TS from last December.  I wanted to re-run it, as it has such wonderful advice for reusing and recycling!  Merry Christmas – Lora.

 

Happy Holidays from thrifty sisters to thrifty sisters!!

 

Here are a few holiday tips that I have been using for years, and they work great…

 

Having trouble loading all of the gifts into your car to travel over the woods and through the hills of snow to Grandma’s house?  Use your laundry basket.  Great way to tote precious items back and forth – and they keep everything in one place.

 

Running out of name tags and it is 12:00 on Christmas Eve and there are no 24 hour store in sight?  Not a problem!  I have been re-using old Christmas cards for years!  They look festive and if you are into scrapping or stamping you can add your own special touches… I have some knock out designs this year and with a touch of a sparkly gel pen, they really can look very impressive.

 

Think about saving bows and ribbon from this year’s gifts and give them new life throughout the new year.  Remember that you can reuse paper if you unwrap things just right.  Paper and tissue paper can also be ironed on a low setting in between towels to get out most of the kinks.  And Gift bags are just begging to be reused!  There are tons of great ideas on wrapping things in re-useable wrapping.  If you are doing a kitchen bundle, for instance, you can wrap your gift in a towel for the kitchen or a table cloth – talk about reusing!!

 

And a note to my sisters… I think Mom still has more bags of ribbon to distribute; I doubt it is too late to ask for more from the “stash”!!!!  When you are home this holiday, see if mom can hook you up with a bag or two and help her unload Grandma’s collection.

 

Hope these ideas help – Merry Christmas to all!!!!!  Keep it thrifty and happy this holiday season!

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 13 – January 10, 2010 (original issue date)

 

Happy New Years to all of my Thrifty Sisters!  I am sure that many of you have cleaned up, sorted and recycled all that you can from the previous holiday season and are looking forward to the upcoming New Year.  For some of us, that means looking forward and wondering “where are we going to put all of this snow?!?!?”  During our last blast of winter white, I shoveled snow out of the driveway and chucked into piles that are eye level.  I guess we will find out how high one can chuck snow until it falls back into your driveway.

 

Today, I thought I would discuss the world of vacuum cleaners.  What are our options?  What is the most cost effective solution to these little gadgets that keep our homes, oh, so pristine?

 

Frankly, my vacuum just sucks right now… well, actually, it has stopped sucking, and is just dragging stuff from one side of the room to the other.  It is not blowing (thank goodness!  If that were the case, I might take it outside and see what it can do with the snow in the driveway!) .  I have tried all of the tricks over the past couple of months.  I have tipped it over and pulled all of the fuzzies and hair out of the roller.  I have taken it apart and made sure that there is not obstruction in the hose (no left over pine needles from last years tree explosion were found in the machine!).  I have cleaned and washed all of the filters and dirt containers.  I think that it is on it’s last leg.  There is this funny burning belt smell that has accompanied the machine for several months now, but even when one takes this portion of the machine apart, there is not apparent obstruction.  Our dust buster is much more efficient right now than the upright vacuum.

 

Is it more cost effective to take it to a technician, or replace it?  My hubby and I priced models last weekend, and it appears that we can replace our current model with the modern equivalent for about $80.  We could even bump up to the pet hair model for a little more.

 

One option that I am reading about is the carpet sweeper.  It is WAY eco friendly (no electricity needed), and is perfect for those in-between vacuuming projects.  Hmmm, there we go again, the vacuuming needs to happen to get the deep down, tracked in and stayed put dirt. 

 

Here is a cute “sum it up” article that I found about vacuums –

http://www.ecollo.com/post/2008/10/Searching-for-an-Eco-Friendly-Vacuum-Cleaner.aspx

 

After some research, it looks like vacuums just aren’t built the way that they used to (especially since I am not going to run out and spend thousands of dollars on a vacuum!).  I guess that is why some models are so cheap and seem to be designed to last such a short time.  Our previous vacuum had a small “accident” when we were moving from the apartment to the house.  I was vacuuming the apartment when I smelled this terrible “warm” smell, so I shut it off and unplugged it.  I then noticed some smoke starting to waif out of the top, and I rushed the whole machine straight through the patio door (it would have been so hard to explain why the carpet was going to need to be replaced in our apartment!).  As I reached the outside, the vacuum actually was billowing smoke, and I chucked it into the snow bank (there is mentioning of snow again…), where it made some silly sizzling sounds and proceeded to cool off out there until I sent it to its final resting spot in the dumpster several hours later.  What a time for the vacuum to die! 

 

That was 5 years ago and it looks like it is time for us to either invest in another vacuum or figure out if ours is repairable. 

 

With that, I hope that you and yours have a wonderful new year and if you have any great vacuuming advice, I would love to hear it!  Keep it thrifty and hopefully vacuum-fire free!

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 14 – January 16, 2010 (original issue date)

 

I must say, the vacuum cleaner discussion received the most responses EVER to the Thrifty Sister!  After an overwhelming reply about how I should change my belts, my hubby and I decided that 8 million readers can’t be wrong (haha – kidding!  However, many people did write back!)

 

Good, old, stubborn Lora wrote off the first few responses (because, REALLY – my belt looked just fine!  It just smelled funny!), but as the responses continued to come in, we decided that a $2.99 investment in 2 belts (that is how they sell belts, by the pair) might be worth the gamble.  So the belts came home, and I ripped that stupid machine apart “one” more time, took out the old belt, brought out the new belt… hmmm… wait a second, the old belt looks much bigger than the new belt… in fact, almost a whole inch bigger!  In goes the new belt, and HELLO!!  I am completely in love with my “brought back to life” vacuum!  My vacuum really does “suck” now and completely in a good way! (haha)

 

So, thank you to everyone who helped save the family about $80!  I guess it takes a village to keep each other thrifty! (Or, maybe a village to convince me that my diagnosis was WRONG!)  Either way – thank you for the help.

 

Here is my sister Karen’s response about her new vacuum purchase…

 

We just got a roomba. The 550 newest model was listed for $400 at Sears and we got it for $250 at Costco. The Roomba cleans our house everyday. I never have to sweep or vacuum again. I tested it against my vacuum and realized it picks just as much up. It goes underneath the  couches, the bed, under the kitchen cabinets, dusts the base boards, senses changes in texture and adjusts, spends more time on dirtier spots, automatically finds its docking station to recharge, and I come home to a clean house everyday.

 

And this one came in from Christine about how to purchase refurbished models…

 

We have an Oreck, which has served us well for many years.  I think I bought it in 2002, and I had to get the belt replaced a couple years ago.  Other than that, it works just as well today, as when I bought it.  Now, I know Orecks can be pretty expensive.  I think they retail for at least a few hundred dollars.  But I was able to get ours for 50% off!  If I remember correctly, the vacuum was first used in a hotel, and then they reconditioned it and sold it to me for half price.  I think they still offer similar deals periodically.  So I have a great vacuum that will last for a long time, AND since I bought it “used” it’s better for the environment too!

 

Way to go thrifty Sisters!  As you can see, I am posting this week’s newsletter a little early.  I was so excited about the results, I couldn’t wait another 24 hours to share the good news with you all.  So with that, I think I am going to take my vacuum out for another spin through the house.  Here is to keeping things clean and thrifty to all of you – have a great week!

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 15 – January 24, 2010 (original issue date)

 

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters!  Now that my vacuum is running great, I seem to feel as if “everything” is “under control”  ….  you don’t believe that statement either?  Ha

 

Britt sent this little tid-bit of info about Roombas…

Lora tell your sister Karen that if she leaves for any length of time and her dogs/cats can’t “hold it”, a roomba will smear poop all over the carpet.  Anyone with dogs will cringe but I read an article on it the other day. Vacuums all die.

 

Mmmmm, yummy to think about what you could come home to!!!!

 

Here is something from Karen that we can all contemplate for the week – I am curious to see what the responses will be!

 

Ode to our long lasting products

 

Too often you hear people say, “They don’t like make that like they used to”. So, in  efforts to focus on those long-standing these that took their course, I decided to highlight a few items that lasted so long, I lamented when they died. 

 

#1) My pair of Dockers pants that got washed every week for the last 6 years died. I am so excited to buy another pair, because of their insane durability.

#2) My plastic strainer made it over a decade, before the bottom fell out a week ago. Jeff had that in Montana as a college kid before I met him.

#3) My hairdryer. It has been sturdy and strong since I got it my senior year before college.

And for kicks and giggles, a few items that frustrated me immediately after buying them:

#1) My target swimsuit. it’s first wear the string fell off.

#2) Charlie, or as Jeff’s band parents and friends call him, “Chuck”, and when his mother is mad at him, “Charles”. Also goes by Mr.C., frog dog, fronka donk, my little man, and Charlie bo Barlie. His recent activity includes eating and licking our walls?

#3) Shoes that feel fine when you buy them and then feel incredibly uncomfortable when you put them on for the first time at home, after you have taken the tags off.

 

And speaking of reusing, here is a great web site to visit and read about the reuse revolution!  With that folks, have a fabulous and thrifty week!

http://www.recyclebank.com/recycling/recycling-101/444-reuse-revolution

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 16 – January 31, 2010 (original issue date)

 

Oh were, oh were should I dump my old blankets, pillows, coats, etc… oh were, oh were should they go?

 

Call your local animal shelter!  Many local shelters will take items such as old towels, coats, blankets, Granny’s fur coats where cats, dogs, rabbits, and other animals can use them as bedding.  Just call ahead to see which items they accept!  What a great way to re-purpose items that might end up in the landfill, and are too worn for places like your local thrift store.

 

I am still collecting lists of people’s favorite (or not so favorite items that they have purchased), so if you are interested in submitting your list, just hit reply and let me know!

 

This email came from Madi and I thought it would be a fun way to spend a snowy afternoon, and make a difference!  (or for those of us who really should be doing something ELSE, but are procrastinating that particular task!).  (NOTE – the Thrifty Sisters have not clicked on these, so I am not sure what you will be getting into, but it sounds like fun!)

 

Do you ever get on the computer just to be on it, but you don’t have anything good to do? Well how about visiting some of these sites and helping contribute to saving the rainforest, feeding the hungry,  and helping animals (just to name a few). All of the below sites have sponsors that donate money and other things to different organizations when you click a button or play a game. So instead of wasting time on the computer, why not start making a difference?

http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/home.faces

http://www.therainforestsite..com/clickToGive/
 
http://www.ecologyfund.com/ecology/donate_plant_tree.html
 
http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/

http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/clickToGive/
 
http://www.thechildhealthsite.com/clickToGive/
 
http://www..thehungersite.com/clickToGive/
 
http://pets.care2.com/front.html?p=&iID=
 
=Staple Foods=
** http://www.freerice.com – Free Rice
** http://www.freeflour.com – Free Bread

=Free Water=
*** http://www.freepoverty.com – Lots of free water!
** http://www.helpthirst.com – Free water

=Free Meals=
*** http://www.bhook.com – Just Click!
*** http://www.pajacyk.pl – Click the green button!
*** http://www.ripple.org/give.php?p=food – Just Click!
*** http://www.porloschicos.com/PorLosChicos.NET/index_english.htm – Click the blue button!
*** http://www.feedsa.com – Click the white button!
*** http://www.hungerfighters.com – Click the green box!
*** http://www.povertyfighters.com/ – Click the blue box!
*** http://www.thehungersite.com – Click the yellow box!
*** http://www.okruszek.org.pl – Click the Bread button!
*** http://www.chintai.net/contribution/index.html – Click the blue box!
*** http://www.kct-uk.org/click – Just visit the site!
*** http://www.straatkind.nl/ – Click on the small red ball.
*** http://www.worldhunger.org/contributefood.htm – Just click!

Help the kids:
** http://children.care2.com – Click the blue box!
** http://www.hungrychildren.com – Click the blue button!

Causes change monthly:
** http://www.youthnoise.com/page.php?page_id=2335 – Click the red button!

Others:
* http://www.definition-of.com – Submit a word
** http://www.spendu.org/beta/index.php – German Rice Game!

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 17 – February 7, 2010 (original issue date)

 

It is time for more “Fun with Vinegar” tips on this Super Bowl Sunday!  I hope that all of my Thrifty Sisters are enjoying their Super Bowl Sunday and are getting ready for the Big Game… in whatever way you want to celebrate it!  Here is a great tip on washing those fun bite sized nibbly dibblies for this afternoon… and forever!!!

 

I would have to say that one of my favorite purchases is the gallons of vinegar that we have been using.  I am using vinegar for so many of my cleaning chores, why not apply it to cleaning your produce? (After all of the vinegar projects… spraying weeds, cleaning, etc, etc, I still only buy a gallon every few months.  Amazing stuff!  And not just for Easter Eggs anymore, kiddies!)

 

So what is the best way to wash your produce?  Use water and white vinegar in a spray bottle or use the soak approach.  A few squirts on your fruits and veggies gets rid of things such as pesticide residue and no more store-bought washes necessary!

 

A diluted vinegar rinse (some recipes call for equal parts water to vinegar and some dilute the vinegar as much as 3:1) kills 98% of bacteria on produce, costs pennies in comparison to the store bought washes!  And if you are not buying store bought containers, you don’t have to recycle them.  Granted, you still need to buy the bottles of vinegar, but you will buy fewer bottles in the long run.  If you already have a bottle of the premade stuff, use it up and simply reuse the sprayer!

 

Years ago, I used to purchase the FIT spray, and then someone (thanks, Tanya!) brought out a FIT colander and bowl set.  Since we were living in a small rural town, FIT was not easily assessable (And duh!  Everyone was probably already washing with vinegar and water – way to be old school and thrifty!) So I use the colander and bowl for a lot of washing and draining – I just throw a splash of vinegar into the water filled bowl/colander, wash, and lift the colander out and rinse!

 

Rinse with water after you spray.

 

Check out this web site for more recipes and info about the benefits of washing with vinegar. 

 

http://www.stretcher.com/stories/00/001127b.cfm

 

This web site had one piece of advice that I wanted to pull out and share with everyone –

 A small cautionary: Never soak mushrooms in this manner. Scrub them, and then rinse minimally under cold running water. Letting them soak allows them to absorb extra water.

 

Happy Game Day to all of the TS’s and their families… now go wash your veggies!

 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 18 – March 8, 2010 (original issue date)

 

From Karen –

Happy Thrifty sister!
Well, this last week for being thrifty I decided to call our local high school that offers the vo-tech program of cosmetology and enroll!  J/K, I didn’t enroll, but I did ask for a haircut and highlights and got in! These programs are so awesome. Who knows? Maybe this summer I’ll get in touch with the nearest massage school for a massage, as well.

This weekend we bought some beautiful flooring at Lumber Liquidators in Tacoma and they are an outlet that sells killer flooring. Also, as far as home stuff, about 4 years ago we went to Sear’s Ding and Dent Outlet store, which is all the appliances that have knicks, dings, scratches. We were able to get really good deals.

 

From Lora –

Thanks, Karen, for the great reminders about outlets and trade schools that need to provide services.  The last time I went in for a haircut, my gal told me that their new massage girl had to put in 4 hours a week of free massages for her “hours” to get certified.  Of course, her times were when I am teaching, but what a great idea!  And those were hour long massages…

 

Here are some great beauty tips with baking soda… let’s see, I had the “Fun with Vinegar” tips, lets call this “The Beauty of Baking Soda”.  I have oodles of these tips, so I will try to add a few each newsletter.

 

The Beauty of Baking Soda –Part 1

For your hair needs, try these little tricks.  I have used the first one and it works like a charm! 

Remove buildup. Mix a small palm-full of baking soda to your shampoo to remove buildup from conditioners, mousses and hairsprays.

Dry shampoo. No time for a shampoo? Baking soda can be used as a dry shampoo when your hair is oily. Sprinkle some on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer.

Chlorine-damaged tresses. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 pint warm water.

Combs and brushes. Remove product and oil buildup by soaking your utensils in a bowl of warm water with about 3 tablespoons of baking soda. You can also add a splash of bleach.

Have a great week and keep on keeping it thrifty! 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 19 – March 15, 2010 (original issue date)

Greetings fellow Thrifty Sisters!  I hope that everyone is having a wonderful week.  Saturday is the official start to spring according to the calendar! 

I understand that Karen’s home improvements are coming along nicely.  Several of my friends and neighbors are looking at the tail end of many winter home improvements projects, so good job to you all! 

While many of us are spring-cleaning and remodeling, you may want to take time to thing about “repurposing”, “reusing”, and “recycling” items that you may either run across or thinking about replacing. 

My favorite “repurpose” object thus far in our house has been the mirror in the downstairs bathroom.  It had at one time some fake etching and the frame was in bad shape since it had been hanging in the moist bathroom.  I used a razor blade and removed the “etching” (it was a clear coating that through the years started to rub off and smear across the glass), and walla!  The mirror surface was clean and smudge free.  I then spray painted the frame white to match the new blue and white theme.  Total cost… whatever the spray paint can was.  Nice!

Johnny recently wrote this… “I noticed this weekend all the stuff that our grandparents did for reusing items have a new name!  “upcycling” – google it once, there is some crazy stuff out there that people are doing!  Some of it is pretty cool but some is just downright crazy!  I think you could spend more on parts to “rescue” items than it’s worth sometimes.”

Good thoughts, Johnny!  So take into consideration of what your overall project is.  Can you salvage the item and still be thrifty, or is it a better investment to donate it (if it is still in useable condition) and get what you want? 

Speaking of  repurposing items, Johnny has an all call out for 100% wool sweaters.  I am not sure what she is making, but re-using wool sweaters can create awesome projects!  (If you would like to donate to the cause, let me know and I can get you in contact with her).  For the rest of you crafty folks, here is a sample of what one could create with things such as old wool sweaters.  https://www.naturalhomemagazine.com/homemade-home-decor/recycled-sweater-blanket.aspx

And to continue on with The Beauty of Baking Soda, here are some tricks for your skin.

 

The Beauty of Baking Soda –Part 2

Facial Exfoliant. In the palm of your hand, mix some baking soda with your facial cleanser to make a gentle exfoliant. Use circular motions to apply gently then rinse as usual for very soft skin.

Rough skin. This also works for the rough skin on elbows and feet. Make a thick paste with baking soda and water (about 3 parts baking soda to one part water) and scrub away.

Shaving. A solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda in a cup of water works as a pre-shave product of aftershave rinse for men with sensitive skin.

With that, have a healthy, happy and thrifty week – Lora.

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 20 – March 21, 2010 (original issue date)

 

Happy Spring to all of my Thrifty Sisters! 

 

With spring in the air, I am sure that many of you are busy tackling those cluttered closets and happily washing and storing your winter gear.  My hubby found a great article about cleaning items in your various washing machines and about the usage of soap, (actually, how most of us over use soap!).  You can read about it here – http://customsites.yahoo.com/financiallyfit/finance/article-109082-4469-3-how-to-really-use-your-dishwasher-washing-machine?ywaad=ad0035

 

Need some tips on spring-cleaning?  Here is a nice list that should be able to give anyone some great ideas and a place to start http://www.debra4homes.com/f/spring_cleaning_tips.htm

 

Need a checklist for your spring cleaning?  “check”… I found one!  (as if you might not already have a list of your own!)  This one breaks it down by rooms.

http://www.debra4homes.com/f/spring_cleaning_tips.htm

 

What about just organizing your home?  Here are some great some ideas that make a daunting task seem less overwhelming.  And remember, start small, finish one item at a time and then move on to the next task.  (checklist, anyone?  My mom loves lists and I think that I am addicted to them, too!  Thanks, Mom, for helping me stay organized!!!)

http://housekeeping.about.com/cs/organizing101/a/BeginOrganizing.htm

 

When you are all finished cleaning and organizing, why not consider taking a moment for yourself and indulge in this week’s Beauty with Baking Soda tip.

 

The Beauty of Baking Soda –Part 3

Uses for the MOUTH

Tooth polish and whitener. Baking soda toothpastes have been long-time shelf staples for a reason. The baking soda works to freshen breathe, whiten, and polish teeth. Dip a damp toothbrush in baking soda and brush away. For a double dip of clean, dip a toothbrush with toothpaste in baking soda.

To clean your toothbrush, soak your toothbrush in a mixture of water and baking soda and overnight.

And with that, happy dusting, organizing and brushing this week and remember to not overuse your cleaning products!  It is not very thrifty to dump money down the drain! 

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 21 – April 11, 2010 (original issue date)

Now that I am sure that we have all sorted and organized our homes since the last time I wrote, here is a cute idea of what to do with old pillowcases. 

Johnny writes – I think I’m a bit behind on this fad, but here’s a use for pillow cases! 🙂  I have four vintage ones I picked up at a yard sale one year and couldn’t part with but also couldn’t figure out what to do with them save using them as… pillow cases… now, I’m going to learn to sew and make them into dresses for my daughter! 🙂 If you click on the how to section there’s also other fun stuff, including a pin cushion from a cracked teacup that would otherwise be tossed…. unless you make the jewelry out of china pieces and that is a whole other story 🙂 http://www..everythingsewing.net/pillowcase_dress_how_to.htm

And in conjunction with the tooth brushing advice, my older sister wrote in – Careful!
Don’t just “brush away” with Baking Soda. Yes, I use it to freshen and whiten teeth, but in this form, it is extremely abrasive — a Dentist would not approve. Just cake the teeth with a moistened finger dabbed in a dollop of b. soda and let set in your mouth, not swallowing, as long as you can stand it. Then gently brush, very gently and or just rinse and spit.
–Big Sis

Good advice for all of us “scrubbers” out there!  Keep your gum line intact so you don’t have to go through the gum rebuilding surgeries.  (Those are neither thrifty, nor anywhere near my top 500 things to do list).

And this is in from Renee – all this talk about fresh cucumbers will make you want to run outside and enjoy the lovely spring day that we have on tap for our region!

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6.. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free.  Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge?  Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and
college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers
or fingernails while you clean.  I’ll bet you thought this would be rude.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

And you thought it was just for salad or making pickles.

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 2, Issue 22 – June 6, 2010

 

Oh my, where has the time gone?!?!  I can’t believe that the Thrifty sister has been idle since April!

 

Karen sent me a couple of thrifty sister notes, but I did not do a good job communicating it to the rest of the sisters!  And to think that June 15th will be the 3 year anniversary of the Thrifty Sister!

 

This note is the latest from Karen –

 

I found out that it’s good to shop around for homeowner’s insurance rates, as they can vary tremendously. Therefore, I got a quote from Progressive and found out that we could not get coverage, because the roof is too old. The house was built in 1983 and there are no papers stating that the roof was replaced, nor does it look replaced since then. Does anybody else think this is too old for a roof? It’s not like thrifty sister will change their minds, but then it got me wondering what the life expectancy for a roof was and our inspection report from 2006, when we bought it said the roof had a 5-year expectancy before it would need to be replaced. That’s next year.  Well, so much for shopping around for rates now….

 

Yes, Karen, shopping around for insurance is a great idea, although I must admit I am terrible at doing so.  Shopping around for new insurance sounds like the worst time of my life – and therefore I am happy with who we have.  However, being denied due to your roof being too old – that is a new one to me!  Interesting…

 

Several of the homes in my neighborhood are being reshingled.  And it turns out that there was a bad batch of shingles when the builders were doing to roofs in the neighborhood.  I do not know the brand, and since we are not the original homeowners we are not able to jump on the money bandwagon, but several of our neighbors are filing for the money that may come up due to the class action lawsuit.  In addition, the neighbors are all going for the 35-year shingles, so I am guessing the life of a roof depends on the shingle life expectancy. 

 

On a completely different side note, I ran across this nifty little piece of advice that I wanted to share from a recent gardening newsletter called “Extra Dirt”. 

 

“Make peace by simply giving skunks some space. Heeding their early warning signs, which include stamping feet and erect tails, will spare you a spray. But if Fido suddenly sports a new eau de parfum, mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide with ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Wipe, rinse, and shampoo.”

 

And with that, we should be spending our thrifty weeks looking at our roofs, checking on good deals on insurances (ugh!  That really sounds like an awful time to me!!) and now, we are prepared for the unintended skunk run in.

 

Hope everyone is enjoying the end of the spring season as the summer solstice is only about 2 weeks away!

 

Lora.

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