ECON Frugal Tips for Sept. '10

Deena in GA

Administrator
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In my never-ending quest for new ways to be frugal, I'm starting another frugal thread. In a minute I'll go look up the links for the previous ones and post them. If you have ideas for cheap and/or home-made Christmas gifts, let's hear them. It's time to be starting on those, if you haven't already. Any tips on ways to save money will be appreciated also!

I have accumulated a lot of old sheets over the past 30-35 years and have rarely been able to throw any out, so I'm trying to think of ways to reuse them. Here's a few I've thought of:

1) cut out pieces for quilts or use to back quilts with
2) cut out and sew into pillowcases
3) if there are solid color ones, cut and sew into bags to use for reuseable Christmas packaging

Also, if you use dryer sheets (I only use them in the winter and always cut them in half and use only a half at a time), keep your used ones and use them to dust with.
 

Taz

Veteran Member
I am a rug weaver so I can think of many things I could do with those sheets. However, I have to tell you that I recently saw one of the most beautiful little rugs, 28x44, that was made from crochet sheets. The gal had dyed some royal blue and some yellow. Blue was the basic color with a yellow stripe at each end. I wish I had a picture of it. Sigh, I don't know how to crochet.
 

nomifyle

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I bought a couple blankets from Goodwill to use for the inside of a denim quilt. Its still in the process so don't know how it will work out, but with that for the inside and denim on the outside I doubt I'll need much else for cover in the winter, at least here in the south.

Judy
 

Deena in GA

Administrator
_______________
Braided or crocheted rugs - what great ideas! I can't believe I didn't think of crocheting them, because I have done that with old t-shirts before. In fact, that reminds me (and I may have mentioned it before and don't remember), one of my friends made the cutest crazy quilt by cutting up old t-shirts, featuring whatever picture or saying was on the t-shirt, and sewing them together, then backing. It was a great use of clothing that would have been thrown away otherwise because of stains or tears.
 

FREEBIRD

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Old sheets (if not too wor) is what I used for curtains on my basement windows.

I have a bunch of bath towels that are worn but have large good sections. I cut them to hand-towel or washcloth size and overlock stitch (regular machine, don't have a serger) around the edges so they can continue to be used. I have some that are two years old and no fraying, they're fine.

I'm getting ready to patch DD's boots in a while, they're suede and have worn spots at the toes (not all the way through). I plan to cut a matching piece from suede scraps and leather glue it in there so she can wear them a bit longer. I have a pair of sandals that I completely re-lined with suede (very comfy) after the original leather lining rotted from old age (10 years +) and I'm preparing to replace the worn out velcro straps with new ones sometime this winter when I get time.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
 

Chair Warmer

Membership Revoked
Water Storage

With Winter coming soon, pipes may freeze and possible power outages may occur. Having enough water stored will help you get through until your water is flowing again.

Last weekend I learned some lessons on this. I was tired of looking at all the ugly bleach bottles full of water sitting under the toilet tank and about ready to toss them, thinking we can always carry water from a nearby creek, although that is a lot of work. But I was lazy and put off getting rid of the eye sore. I also filled the washing machine, intending to wash clothes, but the water sat until the next day without being used. As it turns out my laziness saved me.

Our water pump switch burned out and it was over two days until we could get it replaced. We used all the jugs in the bathroom for flushing toilets and refilled them with water from the washing machine. We also used the washing machine water for washing hands and as a pre-rinse for dirty dishes, setting them aside for a more thorough wash once water had been restored.

I learned that if you wash laundry at least a few times a week, it won't hurt anything to let the washing machine sit full of water until you're ready to wash. It sure was nice having all that extra water sitting there!

I'll be keeping my washing machine full of water through the winter!

Mrs.Cw
 

herbgarden

Senior Member
I am making 18" doll clothes from old clothes I have saved.The ones with stains and worn spots.I made the socks from ones with holes that can't be darned any more.Used left over yarn for a hat and scarf and mittens(doesn't take much for an 18" doll) I have to make 2 sets of everything -have 2 granddaughters.Used a bath towel for the robe.It had more holes than swiss cheese.
I am making bread pans an pizza pans from a foil pan some
one brought food in to some family gathering.Made a rolling pin from 2 dowel rods left over from some project I did before.And made oven mitts from one I had that had no more protecting insulation left.The area at the top of the mitt didn't have any stains.
That is my frugal Christmas present I am currently working on.
 

Deena in GA

Administrator
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A long time ago I read about hanging a baggie with water and a couple of pennies in it over the outside door to keep flies out of the house. It sounds crazy, but early this summer we started having major problems with flies in the house and I can NOT stand flies. So I hung the bag and haven't had a single fly in the house since.

I just read a tip somewhere that said to put a tennis ball in the dryer with a load of clothes and they dry faster and with fewer wrinkles. I hang my clothes out mostly, but will try this on a wet day (assuming we ever have one again).

Do you have ideas on different ways to use oatmeal? I have several buckets of it that need to be rotated out and wondered if you know something to do with it besides cookies, as cereal and in meatloaf.
 

Nuthatch

Membership Revoked
I use oatmeal in granola.

Also, grind it to use as flour. I use it for part of the flour called for in a recipe.

As a facial mask ;)
 

mzkitty

I give up.
A long time ago I read about hanging a baggie with water and a couple of pennies in it over the outside door to keep flies out of the house. It sounds crazy, but early this summer we started having major problems with flies in the house and I can NOT stand flies. So I hung the bag and haven't had a single fly in the house since.

I just read a tip somewhere that said to put a tennis ball in the dryer with a load of clothes and they dry faster and with fewer wrinkles. I hang my clothes out mostly, but will try this on a wet day (assuming we ever have one again).

Do you have ideas on different ways to use oatmeal? I have several buckets of it that need to be rotated out and wondered if you know something to do with it besides cookies, as cereal and in meatloaf.
There's Dilled Salmon Cakes at the Quaker Oats pdf here:

http://www.quakeroats.com/Libraries/pdf/RecipeBook.sflb.ashx



And here from McCanns, click on Savory over to the left -- not sweet recipes!

http://www.mccanns.ie/recipes/r_tabbouleh.html
 

Loon

Veteran Member
I like the idea of making pillow cases out of old sheets. Have you seen the price of a couple pillow cases? It's ridiculous. I keep a lot of pillows on our bed and like to change them often.

I took some old blankets and put them in the barn to keep the barn cats warm in the winter. They are spoiled.

I recently bought some black out sheets and pinned them behind my regular drapes. Keeps out the harsh sun in summer and keeps the heat in at night in the winter. It was a good investment.
 

mzkitty

I give up.
I like the idea of making pillow cases out of old sheets. Have you seen the price of a couple pillow cases? It's ridiculous. I keep a lot of pillows on our bed and like to change them often.

I took some old blankets and put them in the barn to keep the barn cats warm in the winter. They are spoiled.

I recently bought some black out sheets and pinned them behind my regular drapes. Keeps out the harsh sun in summer and keeps the heat in at night in the winter. It was a good investment.
You can never spoil kitties too much!!

:)

I like the black out drapes idea. Thanks, Loon.

:)
 

Loon

Veteran Member
Yeah, the barn cats are spoiled. I even put a heating pad in their little house and set it on low in the winter. Their house is on stacks of hay in the center of the barn out of all drafts. :) Their water bowl is plugged in and heated so it won't freeze. THey do a good job of killing all the mice that wander in there. :)
 

Deena in GA

Administrator
_______________
Are the black out sheets something special or just black sheets? Sounds like a good idea!

For any of you that homeschool, if you are not already friends with your librarian, make friends with him/her. I had an email yesterday from our local librarian in which she offered me two boxes of National Geographic, various science and similar VHS tapes that they had been given. Now granted, not everyone still has VCR's, but we do and these educational tapes are going to be used. In fact, the boys are currently watching one on the ancient cities of Rome and Pompeii.
 

mzkitty

I give up.
Are the black out sheets something special or just black sheets? Sounds like a good idea!
They have all kinds of them at Wally World, I just never picked any up because of the way my apt is situated I like all the light I can get. But for at night to keep the warm in, I should get some. They are heavier than regular drapes and come in various colors.

:)
 

IRoberge

Veteran Member
I asked everyone I knew to save old t-shirts they were going to throw away. I cut them into strips and am now crocheting a rug out of the recycled t-shirts :D This could take YEARS based on the number of T-shirts I was given LOL
 

Wildwood

Senior Member
The old sheets make great bandages for your preps. Washed with bleach to disinfect, torn in strips, rolled up and placed in a new zip lock bag to keep them clean is a great use for old sheets.

DH had a pretty bad injury a while back and even though bandages are in my preps, we sailed right through those in a couple of days. I was shocked at how many it took. I'd dealt with typical lacerations in the past and was well stocked for something like that, this was much worse. Someone on another board suggested the sheet idea and I thought it was a great one although I hope to never need them. As long as sterile supplies are available from the drug store, I will use them but in a SHTF situation, I'd be happy to have some ripped up clean sheets in my preps.

BTW the folks at the ER were very impressed that DH's wound was so well dressed and that I just happened to have all that stuff at home.
 

Loon

Veteran Member
Are the black out sheets something special or just black sheets? Sounds like a good idea!.


They are actually black out drapes not sheets. I use curtain pins and pin them at the top to my regular drapes. I put the really heavy pretty ones in my mom's room and it's like night in there. She has dementia and gets her days and nights mixed up so it helps keep her asleep.

I bought blackout drapes that were wider and much longer than my windows. This way it gives a little more insultaion from the heat and the cold. It makes the windows look bigger too.
 

Be Well

may all be well
I save old sheets and use for bandages, they work better than regular bandaids. They can be tied around a finger or wrist, or make "bandaids" using medical adhesive tape and a small square of (all cotton) sheet, or best, flannel sheet. I don't even buy regular bandaids any more.

I'm planning to make my own "drawers" since current underwear is so shoddily made it falls apart almost instantly, plus we're stone broke. I figure cotton sheets (I don't get ones with poly in them) would work fine, the parts of the sheets that are not worn out.

I used to haunt thrift stores for all-cotton sheets; often not worn out at all and sometimes have gotten ones with pretty embroidery on them. I still do haunt but not as much (no $).

I also sometimes use them or other clean scraps in my rag bag for patches for worn or torn places in clothes.

About oatmeal - I make all our own bread, and usually put a couple of big handfuls of oatmeal in the beginning - I pour hot or boiling water on the oatmeal along with salt, a bit of sugar or brown sugar and a small (or medium, depending on how much bread I'm going to make) knob of butter.

I let cool to warm, then add the yeast and flours. It makes the bread a bit more moist and slightly sweet without being too icky sweet.

Oat flour is a wonderful facial wash - blend up the oats to a fine meal or powder, keep a container in the bathroom, and use for washing the face with a bit of water. Your skin feels like a baby's, without drying at all. Good for any kind of skin - oily, problem, dry, etc.

I also make "oatmeal water" for a drink when sick, or just feeling a bit off, or just as a cheap rehydrating drink. It's nice in the winter, warm.

Take a big pot of cold water (we drink a lot of it, so say 4 to 5 quarts), add one handful of oatmeal, a good pinch of salt, bring to a boil (watch carefully as it loves to boil all over the stove), then turn down to a simmer (still likes to boil over) for about 1/2 hour or a bit more. The oats should be almost dissolved.

At this point you can blend it, strain it, or just drink as is. (I drink as is, less bother). You can also whisk it or use an egg beater, just to help it along.

Can be slightly sweetened or not. Very nutritious. Can also be flavored with a bit of vanilla, cinnamon, or even cocoa.
 

kilagal

Senior Member
I have homemade window quilts. I use sheets for the side close to the window. The middle I use mattress pads. And then the side that shows in the house I buy picture panels in the fabric dept. They keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We have really enjoyed them. I have boxes of old sheets I bought years ago at an auction just for this purpose. The mattress pads I was given from a friend that worked at a motel. And then I only have to buy the fabric picture panel. But I could use plain colors and not have any money involved. A lot of times I will even find picture panels at the thrift stores or yard sales.
 

biere

Veteran Member
I used to just use blankets for blackout curtains. You want something thick enough to block light and if it is that thick it will tend to help insulate the window somewhat.

Where I rent now the landlord had some heavy curtains in place already so my blankets just went back to being blankets.

As a single guy I don't care what the package says, blankets become curtains if I have enough safety pins and a strong enough curtain rod to hold them.

One thing I did this morning was just cut the end off a plastic tube I was having trouble finishing off. This works for toothpaste tubes and all sorts of similar stuff. I actually had enough left in the tube I found a ziplock to keep the tube in so it won't dry out on me. I have a few more days of stuff left so I can procrastinate about shopping some more and just go on my off days.

I had already rolled up the end of the tube but this tube was being tough and I decided it would be simpler to cut the end off it and do things that way.

I am off to read all the other threads as well.

While I have read them before I forget things or slack in some areas so refreshing my memory helps and as new things come into my life something that may not have seemed important before might be important now.
 

garnetgirl

Veteran Member
Deena, I keep a couple of my old light colored sheets to assist me in seed saving. Last year I took my dried collard and kale bundles, put them on a white sheet (outside), rolled everything up good and stomped (the kids had fun doing this) and crunched the dried plants up to release the seed. Then, I opened it all up, and was able to easily remove the chaff and I had a nice pile of seeds at the bottom, easy to see on the white sheet.

garnetgirl
 

Deena in GA

Administrator
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Great tips, everyone! Thanks for sharing them! Garnetgirl, you made me remember that my dad uses sheets for the same thing. I had totally forgotten that.

Today's tip from me actually comes from oldfashionedliving.com and concerns carpenter's bees. Someone on there says that you can spray WD40 into the hole and it will kill the bees. I haven't tried it yet, because I just read it today, but will probably try it the next time one drills into my eaves. Btw, everything I see about them say they like unpainted/untreated wood, but they sure like to drill into our painted eaves.
 

mzkitty

I give up.
I just remembered a little tip, if it hasn't been mentioned on other threads.

If you find yourself suddenly out of coffee filters and you neeeeeeed some coffee like right now -- you can use a plain tissue or part of a plain paper towel.

I find they work just fine until you can get to the store.

:)
 

Chair Warmer

Membership Revoked
MzKitty's post reminded me of something I read...

some people make their own reusable cloth tea bags.

Another tip I've read for an oatmeal bath to soothe dry and itchy skin is to put oatmeal in an old sock and tie up the end, throw it in the bath water.

Mrs.Cw
 

FREEBIRD

Has No Life - Lives on TB
"I don't care what the package says, blankets become curtains if I have enough safety pins and a strong enough curtain rod to hold them"

That's not just a "single guy" thing, I did that on a lot of windows the winter it didn't get above zero for over a month.
 

Be Well

may all be well
I don't drink coffee often, but when I do, I use a piece of muslin and put it in the coffee strainer thing. Works fine. I just wash it out and keep it for that purpose. No need to buy filters actually.
 

Deena in GA

Administrator
_______________
And for those with an electric grain grinder, I've been using a piece of netting as the filter on mine for quite some time now since I lost the original. It works great and is still strong.

For the women...I was reminded of an old tip I used to do all the time yesterday when I got a run in my hose. If you have two pair of hose that each have a run in one leg, cut off the leg with the run and use both pair at the same time. An added benefit is that it acts as almost a girdle, lol.
 
I save old sheets and use for bandages, they work better than regular bandaids. They can be tied around a finger or wrist, or make "bandaids" using medical adhesive tape and a small square of (all cotton) sheet, or best, flannel sheet. I don't even buy regular bandaids any more.

I'm planning to make my own "drawers" since current underwear is so shoddily made it falls apart almost instantly, plus we're stone broke. I figure cotton sheets (I don't get ones with poly in them) would work fine, the parts of the sheets that are not worn out.

I used to haunt thrift stores for all-cotton sheets; often not worn out at all and sometimes have gotten ones with pretty embroidery on them. I still do haunt but not as much (no $).

I also sometimes use them or other clean scraps in my rag bag for patches for worn or torn places in clothes.

About oatmeal - I make all our own bread, and usually put a couple of big handfuls of oatmeal in the beginning - I pour hot or boiling water on the oatmeal along with salt, a bit of sugar or brown sugar and a small (or medium, depending on how much bread I'm going to make) knob of butter.

I let cool to warm, then add the yeast and flours. It makes the bread a bit more moist and slightly sweet without being too icky sweet.

Oat flour is a wonderful facial wash - blend up the oats to a fine meal or powder, keep a container in the bathroom, and use for washing the face with a bit of water. Your skin feels like a baby's, without drying at all. Good for any kind of skin - oily, problem, dry, etc.

I also make "oatmeal water" for a drink when sick, or just feeling a bit off, or just as a cheap rehydrating drink. It's nice in the winter, warm.

Take a big pot of cold water (we drink a lot of it, so say 4 to 5 quarts), add one handful of oatmeal, a good pinch of salt, bring to a boil (watch carefully as it loves to boil all over the stove), then turn down to a simmer (still likes to boil over) for about 1/2 hour or a bit more. The oats should be almost dissolved.

At this point you can blend it, strain it, or just drink as is. (I drink as is, less bother). You can also whisk it or use an egg beater, just to help it along.

Can be slightly sweetened or not. Very nutritious. Can also be flavored with a bit of vanilla, cinnamon, or even cocoa.
Thank you for this idea! I use cloth everything but hadn't thought about bandages since before the last flu scare.
 

Be Well

may all be well
I was raised by frugal parents, and since I left home I've been dirt poor! Learn a lot when you have little money. My mother actually showed me how to make "bandaids" from a strip of cloth. Wind it around the finger a few times, then rip the end into a split, separate them, and tie in a knot.

Or you can do the adhesive tape thing. The same method (wrapping the strip of cloth around a few times and then splitting the end for tying it on) works on the arm, leg or whatever.
 
I was raised by frugal parents, and since I left home I've been dirt poor! Learn a lot when you have little money. My mother actually showed me how to make "bandaids" from a strip of cloth. Wind it around the finger a few times, then rip the end into a split, separate them, and tie in a knot.

Or you can do the adhesive tape thing. The same method (wrapping the strip of cloth around a few times and then splitting the end for tying it on) works on the arm, leg or whatever.
Well, I am so glad you posted! I've been trying to reduce our 'outgo' because there is little I can do to increase our income, yk? I am home with small children and paying out the nose for older children. I guess you could say I'm getting it coming and going. :spns:

We use cloth dipes, cloth napkins, kitchen rags. We use hardly any disposables and as soon as I'm able we'll switch to family cloth. The family is dead set against it right now. I've really watched my grocery budget drop as I've stopped buying consumable paper products.
 

Be Well

may all be well
Well, now that you mention it - ahem - here's what I do for toilet use.

I keep an old yogurt container or shampoo container (all washed out of course) handy, and after peeing, wash up with water, and dry with a wash cloth used for that purpose. So it's drying only. After a couple of days I replace it with another one. I have hundreds of cheapie wash cloths. Useful as all get-out!

For number two, I similiarly wash with water, use a teensy bit of TP, wash again, and dry with wash cloth. Sometimes that one needs to get washed out right away.

I wash all wash cloths and kitchen towels and dish rags by soaking in Sun Cleaner (like Oxyclean but cheaper and no perfume) and hot water, and then washing very well and hanging outside (except in the winter I use the dryer.) I use paper towels only when absolutely necessary, like drying out iron frying pans since it stains cloth towels. But I'm thinking of having a "dedicated" set of kitchen towels just for those kinds of things so I can stop using paper for that.

I have collected a LOT of kitchen towels, kitchen dish cloths and wash cloths. They are so useful and save a lot of money. Sponges just fall apart and bacteria grow in them.

When wash cloths are too old to use on the body - holes, stained, whatever - then they turn into bathroom or kitchen cleaning rags. When they're too icky for THAT, I give them to DH for his "industrial" purposes.

Old towels, I rip up, and DH gets them for drying his hands during the day when he's working outside. We also get sometimes bags of towels at thrift stores and use them for rags, rip up for hand towels, etc.

Doing all the above means I hardly ever buy any throw away paper products. If I was young and had monthlies, I would use cloth diapers folded up, I did when I was really poor years ago. Actually more comfortable and worked better than the disposable napkins.
 
Well, now that you mention it - ahem - here's what I do for toilet use.

I keep an old yogurt container or shampoo container (all washed out of course) handy, and after peeing, wash up with water, and dry with a wash cloth used for that purpose. So it's drying only. After a couple of days I replace it with another one. I have hundreds of cheapie wash cloths. Useful as all get-out!

For number two, I similiarly wash with water, use a teensy bit of TP, wash again, and dry with wash cloth. Sometimes that one needs to get washed out right away.

I wash all wash cloths and kitchen towels and dish rags by soaking in Sun Cleaner (like Oxyclean but cheaper and no perfume) and hot water, and then washing very well and hanging outside (except in the winter I use the dryer.) I use paper towels only when absolutely necessary, like drying out iron frying pans since it stains cloth towels. But I'm thinking of having a "dedicated" set of kitchen towels just for those kinds of things so I can stop using paper for that.

I have collected a LOT of kitchen towels, kitchen dish cloths and wash cloths. They are so useful and save a lot of money. Sponges just fall apart and bacteria grow in them.

When wash cloths are too old to use on the body - holes, stained, whatever - then they turn into bathroom or kitchen cleaning rags. When they're too icky for THAT, I give them to DH for his "industrial" purposes.

Old towels, I rip up, and DH gets them for drying his hands during the day when he's working outside. We also get sometimes bags of towels at thrift stores and use them for rags, rip up for hand towels, etc.

Doing all the above means I hardly ever buy any throw away paper products. If I was young and had monthlies, I would use cloth diapers folded up, I did when I was really poor years ago. Actually more comfortable and worked better than the disposable napkins.
They make 'mamacloth' now. They're cloth menstrual pad w/wings and velcro and all the doodads and whistles.
 
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