DIY Dehydrating Marshmallows

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:57 am on Monday, April 27, 2015


Marshmallows can end up in the back of your cupboard, slowly fossilizing until you end up throwing them out. Still, they’re nice to have around, especially if you make your own hot chocolate.

Why not try dehydrating them?

Mom With A Prep has a guide to drying marshmallows in the oven and in a dehydrator.

You’ve probably had dehydrated marshmallows before–they’re commonly in packets of hot chocolate. They’d be good in hot chocolate or cereals or trail mix.

Seems worth a try.

3 Pounds Of Dried Apples For $4

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:01 am on Monday, March 30, 2015


Here’s an example of how I Save Money By Dehydrating Fruit. My local grocery store frequently has a cart of marked down fruits and vegetables. Recently, the store had two bags for $2 each.


The apples were on the old side, but that didn’t matter because I cut them up and stuck them in my food dehydrator.


In the end, I ended up with three pounds of dried apples for $4. The same amount of dried apples in the store would have costs me a whole lot more.

Save Money Update: Michaels Frame And Taylor Digital Thermometer

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:05 am on Monday, March 23, 2015

Time for an update on my New Year’s Resolutions to Save Money By Contacting Companies When Things Break. Every time something I own breaks or malfunctions, I’ll contact the company and ask for a replacement.

So far, I’ve interacted with two companies. Here’s how it went down.

Taylor Digital Cooking Thermometer

I wasn’t surprised when my digital thermometer broke. I’ve had to buy several digital thermometers over the years; they don’t last that long. So when my Taylor Digital Cooking Thermometer broke, my impulse was to throw it out and buy a new one. I actually went so far as to put it in the garbage can before I remembered my New Year’s Resolution.

Then I pulled the thermometer out of the trash and looked at it.


As you can see in this picture, the wires pulled out of the probe. The rest of the thermometer still worked. So I contacted Taylor and asked them to send me a new probe.

They wrote back and said I could buy a new probe if I wanted.

I wrote them again and said, would they send me one for free? The thermometer was less than a year old.

They wrote back and asked if I had sent in the warranty.

I wrote them and said, no I hadn’t. Still, would they please send me a free probe?

They agreed, but I had to jump through all these hoops that included telling them where and when I bought thermometer, taking pictures of it, sizing and editing the photos so they could see them, and writing down many many serial numbers. It felt like Taylor was trying to discourage me so they wouldn’t have to send me the probe. However, I did all they asked.

They wrote again and said that the probe was back ordered until April. Well! Okay then. This was in February, as I’ve been waiting patiently ever since for my probe. I do miss having a digital thermometer.

From this experience, I got the feeling that Taylor thermometers break a lot and this is how the company deals with complaints. I also learned next time to send in the stupid warranty card.

Michaels Frame

On the other hand, I was super impressed with Michaels. As I wrote in this post, a poster frame I purchased from there exploded all over my bathroom.

In November, I went to Michaels and bought a frame for a poster. Last month, my son knocked the poster over. It flopped slowly over in a way that might have cracked the glass of a normal frame, but that’s not what happened. Instead, the glass shattered. It was like Hollywood breakaway glass. It flew all over the bathroom, into the kitty litter, behind the toilet. It was a mess, and worse–it was dangerous. The glass was brittle, thin, and sharp. Thank God my son didn’t get cut.

Here’s a picture of the glass after I cleaned it up:

I told Michaels about this situation, and they went way beyond my expectations. Not only did they send me a $25 gift card, they went to the trouble of sending a new frame to my house. Here it is:


Sew Your Own Cloth Menstrual Pads

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:17 am on Friday, March 20, 2015


I’m not sure if cloth pads are something I would do for my period, but I can see how they would save you money. Cloth pads last for years and can be used over and over, while disposal pads cost what? $8-$13 a pack? Plus cloth menstrual pads have the added benefit of being environmentally friendly.

Cleaning them, though…

Here’s a tutorial for making your own. And here’s information about using cloth pads.

10 Secrets the Airlines Don’t Want You to Know

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:10 am on Tuesday, March 10, 2015



This article 10 Secrets the Airlines Don’t Want You to Know has some good pointers on dealing with airlines when they mess up. For example:

Say ‘no’ to vouchers — you’re entitled to cold, hard cash

Do not settle for vouchers. They’re the airline equivalent of Geoffrey Dollars. If you’re bumped from a flight because it’s overbooked, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has compensation rules of up to $1,300 in cash if the airline fails to rearrange plans within two hours of your flight. The airlines often offer passengers a travel voucher instead (like every time, let’s be real). They’re also required to tell you that you can get a check on the spot. It’s like your flight delay Miranda rights.

Aren’t airlines the worst sometimes?

Save Money By Contacting Companies When Things Break

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:51 am on Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I don’t know about you, but things don’t seem well made anymore. They often break right after you get them.

I’m not talking about when I accidentally break something I bought–I wouldn’t blame anyone else for that. I’m talking about when things are so cheaply made that they fall apart on you, usually in just enough time that they’re still new, but you can’t easily return them to the store.

In the past when this happened, I would get angry, throw the thing out, and either do without it or buy it all over again. But my mom changed my attitude about that.

Last year, she bought my son a VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset. About two months after he started playing with it, the train broke. It just wouldn’t turn on anymore.

What a piece of junk! I thought. A $50 toy that lasts less than three months?

When my mom asked if my son was enjoying the train, I said, “Oh it broke. He only used it a little bit and the train stopped working. I don’t really want to buy a replacement train, so I guess I’ll just donate what’s left of the playset to Goodwill.”

But my mom said, “No, don’t do that, I’ll write the company and get a replacement train.”

So she wrote VTech an email saying how much my son enjoyed the product, but the train broke. Then she asked them: would they send her a replacement train?

And you know what? They did. The train came in the mail, it works fine, and my son loves the toy.

So I made New Year’s Resolution (in addition to organizing my house and baking bread): In 2015, every time something breaks because it’s poorly made or has some other malfunction, I’m going to write the company and ask for a replacement.

Earlier this month, I had my first chance to make good on my resolution. In November, I went to Michaels and bought a frame for a poster. Last month, my son knocked the poster over. It flopped slowly over in a way that might have cracked the glass of a normal frame, but that’s not what happened. Instead, the glass shattered. It was like Hollywood breakaway glass. It flew all over the bathroom, into the kitty litter, behind the toilet. It was a mess, and worse–it was dangerous. The glass was brittle, thin, and sharp. Thank God my son didn’t get cut.

Here’s a picture of the glass after I cleaned it up:

Now, if my son had just cracked the glass, I would have sucked it up as our having damaged the frame. Again, I don’t expect a company to replace something that I broke through carelessness or bad luck. But the glass in this frame was a safety hazard, and I felt the company should know about it.

And after all, I’d paid $30 for the frame, and now I had to buy another one.

So I wrote Michaels an email explaining the situation, including the CPU from the frame so they knew what product I was talking about, and asked what they could do for me. It took five minutes to write.

Today I got a reply from a Michaels Customer Care employee, who said:

I have sent the issue to our Buyers, so they are made aware of the issue and can address with the vendor. If you could please provide me with you address, I will see what can be done regarding providing a replacement or credit for the frame.

Well! Isn’t that nice?

Throughout the year, I’ll share other stories of contacting companies to get replacements when things break before their time. We’ll see what they do.

How Much Would You Save If You Ditched Cable?

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:26 am on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How much is cable TV and a few streaming services like Netflix and Hulu really costing you? Slate has a calculator that lets you figure out the cheapest way to have TV. Useful!

How Much Money Does Making Bread Save You?

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:10 am on Monday, January 5, 2015

While I’m still working on organizing my house, my other New Year’s Resolution is to get better at making bread. While I’m certain it’s worth it to bake bread for the sheer deliciousness of it, I’m not sure it’s worth it financially to replace store-bought bread with homemade bread. Let’s investigate, shall we?

Here in California, I typically buy about three loaves of bread a month at about $4 each. That’s $12 a month, or $144 a year. In the grand scheme of expenses, that’s not very much money.

Ah, but ideally I would be making “artisan” bread, and that easily costs $7 a loaf here. (I know!) So that’s $252 a year.

For Christmas, a friend gave me the Della Fattoria Cookbook. I tried their White Boule recipe and was very pleased with it. The bread tastes great, is easy to make, and meets my definition of “artisan.”

And the ingredients were all things I buy in bulk: all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, olive oil, sea salt. Here are the ingredients and their cost per ounce:

    Instant yeast 0.28 ounce / 2 1/4 teaspoon = $.09 total
    Warm water (100°F/38°C) 16.6 ounces / 2 cups = free
    All-purpose flour 22 ounces / 4 1/2 cups = $.69 total
    Fine gray salt 0.5 ounce / 2 1/4 teaspoon = $.14 total
    Granulated sugar 0.3 ounce / 2 1/4 teaspoon = $.02 total
    Extra virgin olive oil 2.5 ounces / 5 Tablespoons = $.35 total

    Total amount to make a loaf of bread: $1.29

If I made three loafs a month, that’s $3.87 a month, or $46.44 a year.

That means, if I made “artisan” bread every week instead of buying it, I would save about $205 a year.

That means baking bread would save my about 78%.

However, the wild card here is time. Baking bread is time consuming. However, I work at home, which means that I can steal 5-10 minutes throughout the day to knead dough or put it in the oven. Instead of cigarette breaks, I can take bread breaks.

Also, I suspect that as I get used to making bread, it will become an easy routine that won’t take a lot of my brain space or effort to do.

Also, I could make two loaves at once and freeze one.

So. I’m intrigued. I think I’ll try making bread for awhile and see if it becomes a habit that sticks.


What about you? Do you think it’s worth it to make your own bread?

Frugal Tip: Cut Up Tubes To Get Every Drop Inside

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:15 am on Friday, January 2, 2015

Here’s a frugal tip that I can’t believe never occurred to me before. When you’re down to the dregs of a plastic container, simply cut the container up so you can scrape the excess out. That way you can get to every last drop.

I’ve got a tube of moisturizer I’m going to try this on today.

For more frugal tips, click here.

Cheap Wax From The Thrift Store

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:30 am on Tuesday, December 2, 2014

If you’re interested in No-Mess Candle Making, here’s a tip for getting cheap candle wax: check out your thrift store. They are full of half-burnt candles that usually sell for about $.50 or less.

These candles are cheap for a reason. Few people want a gummy, sticky, weird-looking candle in their house. But if you’re buying the candles for the wax, it doesn’t matter what the candle looks like since you’ll be melting it down.

I’d wager that short of reusing the wax in old candles you already have, this is the cheapest way to get candle wax.

Just make sure to smell the candle before you buy. It’s best to stick to no-scent wax in this scenario, unless you want your newly made candle to smell like a thrift store.

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