What Do Frugal Habits Save You?

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:43 am on Monday, April 15, 2013

On Friday, I was making baby food by running bananas through a blender and freezing them. It was feeling tedious and I started wondering, why not just buy pureed bananas and be done with it?

Then I calculated how much money I was saving by making the bananas instead of buying them. I came up with about $28.

(I paid $3.99 for 10 pounds of bananas. Removing the skin, let’s say that ended up being 9 pounds (144 ounces) of pureed banana for my son. That’s $.03 an ounce. If I buy the same standard baby food at $1.09 for 5 ounces of banana, that’s $.22 an ounce. For the same 144 ounces of baby food, I would pay $31.68. $31.68-$3.99=$27.69.)

That set me thinking: I have dozens of frugal habits that I do throughout the day. These are small things that are part of my daily life, like eating from my garden, using rags instead of paper towels, or using homemade cleaner and homemade hand soap. What do they end up saving me in a day?

So I made an informal tally throughout the day. Here’s what I came up with:

    * After making baby food, I had breakfast: two poached eggs and a piece of wheat bread. The eggs were free from my chickens, so I didn’t have to buy them. Approximate savings: $.75

    * At lunch, I fed my son homemade pureed broccoli and pureed mangoes (among other food), instead of purchasing two jars of baby food. Approximate savings: $2.20.

    * For my lunch, I had a salad that included arugula and strawberries from my garden, as well as smoked turkey and vinegar that I made myself. The only thing I bought was the turkey. Approximate savings: $2.

    * I filled another bottle with homemade liquid hand soap instead of buying liquid hand soap from the store. Approximate savings $3.

    * Throughout the day, I usually used rags instead of paper towels. Say I used 6 rags, that’s 6 paper towels. This is a little difficult to calculate, but let’s say, approximate savings: $.05.

    * Then I had some errands. Instead of driving downtown, I walked. Approximate savings in gas: $.23.

    * On the way, I stopped at a thrift store. I bought a new pair of sunglasses for $1.50 instead of buying new sunglasses at a department store. Approximate savings: $12.50.

    * I also bought a new colander for $1.50 instead of buying one at the store. (“New.”) Approximate savings: $8.50.

    * That night, I wanted to get pizza delivered, but I did not do it! Instead, I made it for $3. Approximate savings: $17.

    Total Savings: $46.23


In this list, I tried to include things I would have done regardless of whether they were frugal or not. I would have eaten food, cleaned, gone downtown, bought sunglasses, fed my son, etc. one way or another.

Of course, this is a sampling of a day. It’s not every day. I don’t buy sunglasses every day and I don’t always make pizza. Still, the point is, these frugal habits add up.

If I save $50 a day, that’s $18,250 that’s still sitting in my bank account at the end of the year.

That’s why frugality works.

You get used to it. You don’t even feel how you’re not spending money.

It’s your habit to do things that save. To get there, it’s just a matter of cultivating those habits.

Spring Cocktail Round-Up

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:54 am on Friday, April 12, 2013

It’s spring! And tax day is on Monday. Either way, sounds like time for a cocktail.

Here are five spring cocktails for you:

savvyhousekeeping 5 spring cocktails round-up

What’s Up Doc, Cocktail? One of the best cocktails we’ve come up with. It tastes a lot like carrot cake.

savvyhousekeeping 5 spring cocktails round-up

Mango Margarita. Mangos are on sale right now, so here’s a mango margarita recipe.

savvyhousekeeping 5 spring cocktails round-up

Champagne Lemon Floats. Homemade lemon sorbet and champagne. Delicious!

savvyhousekeeping 5 spring cocktails round-up

Maple Bacon Bloody Mary. Okay, maybe Bloody Mary isn’t the first thing you think of when I say “spring,” but it is something you drink at brunch, and brunch is something people do in the spring. Anyway, this cocktail, with bacon and maple syrup, is worth a try.

savvyhousekeeping 5 spring cocktails round-up

Strawberry Tarragon Cocktail. Strawberries are just starting to come into the stores, so here’s a cocktail using fresh strawberries, gin, and one of my favorite herbs: tarragon.

Happy spring!

Red Fox Silkscreen

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:30 am on Thursday, April 11, 2013

I saw this Red Fox Silkscreen on a TV show and thought it was kind of cute. 12.5″ x 19″. $30

Make Your Own Baby Swing

Filed under: Kids — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:26 am on Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Make Your Own Baby Swing so your newborn can swing on the porch with you. One Sassy Housewife built her own for $27, much cheaper than the $135 swings she found online.

Outdoor Tunnel For Indoor Cats

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:30 am on Tuesday, April 9, 2013

If you’re going to keep your cat indoors, the best thing you can do is not let him/her know about the outdoors for as long as possible. Once a cat gets it into its head that it wants to go outside, you have a battle on your hands.

So I’m intrigued by this post on building an Outdoor Tunnel For Indoor Cats. Julia found a cat door that was made for windows, so she built a tunnel that runs along the fence of her garden and opens into a cage that sits under her lilac bush. Lucky cats!

Looks like they enjoy it, too.

Scarlet Runner Beans

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:56 am on Monday, April 8, 2013


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As mentioned in My 2013 Garden Plan is that I’m growing Scarlet Runner Beans this year. These are beans that have a bright, scarlet colored flower that attract hummingbirds and produce huge bean pods. This is the first time I’ve tried them.

Originally from Central America, Scarlet Runner Beans are sometimes also called Oregon Lima Beans. The plants can get up to 10 feet tall, which makes them a great choice for a bean teepee. In many regions, they can be grown as perennials, which means less work for more food. Here’s other advantages of Scarlet Runner Beans:

You Can Eat Them Green. Apparently, young pods taste a lot like snap peas.

You Can Eat Them Dried. The beans, when mature, range from black to brown to pink and can be cooked like any other dried bean.


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Gorgeous Flowers.
Apparently, hummingbirds love them.

Nitrogen Fixers.
Like most beans, Scarlet Runner Beans add nitrogen to the soil, thus improving soil quality just by being there.


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I’m excited to see how these beans play out.

What about you? Have you grown Scarlet Runner Beans?

Make Your Own Buttermilk

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:25 am on Thursday, April 4, 2013

I’ve got to try this. According to One Hundred Dollars A Month, making your own buttermilk is a simple matter of letting 1 Tablespoon of vinegar sit in a cup of milk for five minutes. I’ve got to try this next time Mr. Savvy makes Buttermilk Biscuits.

Holiday Overkill

Filed under: Kids — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:11 am on Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I enjoyed this post on Rage Against The Minivan about “Holiday Overkill.” It starts out with Kristin, a mother of four, discovering that someone at school had told her kids that on St. Patrick’s Day, you set out a trap for leprechauns and then there are gold coins in it the next day. Yeah, I had never heard of that either. As Kristen put it:

Gold coins? A leprechaun trap? Is he serious? When I was a kid we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by wearing something green. THE END.

She then goes on to say:

Yes, I’ve turned into a bit of a grinch, but SERIOUSLY WITH THE HOLIDAY OVERKILL. As if Christmas wasn’t already hard enough as a parent, someone also decided that we have to move an Elf around every day, into creative tableaus? And then someone else decided that the Advent Calendar was A Thing beyond a simple religious observation and now involves some kind of gift each day leading up to Christmas?

And less than a month after having survived that whole mess, we’ve got Valentine’s Day which has became The New Halloween, because God forbid you send a simple store-bought card. You’d better include some candy or your child will be shunned. Shunned! … And do not even get me started on what Easter has become. When I was a kid my mom went to the store and bought us a new dress and a pre-made plastic Easter basket for $8.99. THE END. There was candy and we loved it. Maybe we would die some eggs from a kit sitting in the check-out lane at Target. They would look like crap. Now we’ve got to leave footprints from the Easter Bunny and make artful, Pinterest-worthy eggs with stencils and ikat prints and probably some that are hombre.

Pretty funny stuff, plus she makes some good points in her rant. She calls it a “We’re all in this together, let’s simplify!” manifesto. Read the rest here.

What do you think about holiday overkill?

From TV To Bookshelf

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:22 am on Tuesday, April 2, 2013

There’s something poetic about this project of turning an old TV into a bookshelf.

Take it apart, use recycled wood to make the divider, and you have a pretty cute bookshelf. And it was free, too.

Happy Easter 2013

Filed under: News — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:06 am on Friday, March 29, 2013


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Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

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