Last week I shared a recipe for making a fruit liqueur using up all of those end of season fruits. Oh my gosh – I received a ton of e-mails. That made me realize that I have been slacking on my goal of providing articles relating to a stylish, yet frugal lifestyle. Also as I wrote last week, it reminded me that we all need to take a break from our prepping to do something fun, something interesting, and something just for the heck of it.
This week’s “embrace the moment” article will be spent making some homemade Kahlua coffee liqueur. And boy is this good. I first made this when I was in my early twenties. My neighbors at Empire Estates (if you lived in Seattle in the 70s you will recall this apartment complex) gave me the recipe and rest is history.
I am also sharing my recipe for a killer, Kahlua pound cake. Yummm!
Last week I wrote about 12 Frugal Tips for Living with Less Money. Most if not all of those tips were fairly benign. They were simple, easy, practical and common sense rules for pursing a frugal lifestyle. There was nothing controversial and certainly nothing to be be embarrassed about.
Today I present another list. These are my own quirky, funky and yes, crazy things that I do to save money. For some, this list may seem silly. For me, they are a way of life.
1. Cut used paper from the printer into scratch paper: Using my paper cutter, I cut a stack of 8.5 x 11 sheets into note paper and set them out in my desktop note holder. This only takes a few minutes and I get four pieces of note paper from each sheet. I have done this for over 20 years.
2. Re-use the back side of paper in the laser printer: A person can only use so much scratch paper. The rest of the paper spilling out of the printer is flipped over and used again, this time on the back side. But I don’t stop there. I also use the back side of documents and flyers that arrive in the mail. Since I am 99% paperless, nothing gets filed. Instead it gets scanned, flipped and added to the stack of “blank” paper destined for the printer. Nothing hits the recycle bin until it has been printed on both sides (or cut into scratch paper as described in #1).
3. Re-use remittance envelopes that arrive in the mail: Since I pay all of my bills online, I have no need for all of those envelopes that come stuff with bills that arrive in the mail. I slap a label over the pre-printed address on these so-called junk envelopes and I am good to go. I use these envelopes for all sorts of things: bank deposits, grocery coupons, receipts, you name it.
As difficult as it may be to fathom, the current lousy economy may not be the worst case scenario. All I have to do is look around and be observant…
Not everyone is blessed with a decent job, no mortgage debt, no car payments, and plenty of food on the table. As sad as it may seem, the grim reality is that we all have friends, neighbors, and relatives that are scraping by with meager incomes and barely enough cash to keep the utilities turned on in their homes.
I have spoken one on one to many such folks and it is amazing how resilient they are. Many have given up the use of an automobile for all but essential trips. Others have either given up or cut back on their cable TV and have learned to make prodigious use of the public library.
Now let me set the record straight: I am not talking about the braggarts who pare down their 150 satellite channel lineup to 80 channels and talk/brag about their new-found, politically correct, austerity. No, I am referring to hard working folks who, with the rising cost of food and fuel, have no extra money and are struggling to come up with the cash to cover basics such as toothpaste and TP.
So therein lies the challenge. As I attempt to educate others on the need to be prepared and to be self-reliant, what do I say when the piggy bank is empty and there is little or no extra cash? Can I offer a family preparedness solution to what may seem to be an expensive proposition?
As much as I hate cleaning, my friends often call me the Princess of Windex because I am always in perpetual motion, picking up this, wiping off that, and in general, keeping things tidy. The only problem I have with this honorary title is I don’t use Windex or any other harsh chemical unless they are a last resort. I am hooked on using simple, ordinary products for general cleaning, removing stains, and getting through the myriad of household chores that never seem to end. And so, for today, I offer you a list of those things that are in my cleaning bucket along with a few tips for using each item.
The first day of 2011 has come and gone and with it, a renewed energy to continue to focus on self sufficiency and personal independence.Personal independence and the ability to take care of one’s needs without reliance on others is a mantra that can exist anywhere, including cities, rural communities, farmlands, and remote outposts. It is time to take a preparedness inventory.