Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Energy Fast to Sack Hunger Sack!
Fast from energy, other carbon sources, and simplify your lifestyle -
with the donations going to Food Gatherers!

Lent - February 17 - March 30, 2010 Calendar: (PDF file) (Word file)
Vegetarian Recipes Posted Weekly on our Recipes Blog, Here!
The recipe of the week can be found at:

Read the Forum articles EACH WEEK with the up-dates connected to our Energy Fast to Sack Hunger Sack!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Frugal Francis

Shirley Hogan wrote:

Save the colored cartoon section of your Sunday paper.  It makes good
wrapping paper and brings a smile to the recepient's face.  .

Shake out the leftovers and  then flatten the waxpaper lining of your
empty cereal boxes.  They work to cover food in the refrigerator and
for storage.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Coffee filters: Not just for making coffee....

Coffee filters ..who knew!  And you can buy 1,000 at the  Dollar Tree for almost nothing.

COFFEE FILTERS:  Not just for making coffee....

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave.
Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows and mirrors.  Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China .. . . Separate your good dishes by putting a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine.  If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet.  Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish.  Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil.  After frying, strain oil through a sieve
lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods.  Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos.  Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot.  Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping.  Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows?  Use strips of coffee filters.

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them.  Soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom.  They make great "razor nick

---  Shirley Hogan

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 11, 2009

Have a clothing exchange party for your teenagers or yourself.  Have each guest bring 4 items of clothing that is in excellent condition that they no longer wear because it does not fit or they don't like it.   Put all the clothing on display.  Put numbers in a hat for each person attending.  Then have each person draw a number.  the person with the number 1 gets to chose the first item of clothing, number 2 the second and so on.  Then put all the numbers back and draw for a second selection of clothing.  Continue until every one has selected the items they want.  Any left over clothing should be donated to a charity or the St. Francis Rummage Sale.  Have fun selecting your "new" FREE wardrobe.   ---- Shirley Joan

August 11, 2009

Briarwood movies is offering kids a FREE movie on Wednesdays at 10am.  Nothing beats FREE and for Mom and Dad, Monday and Tuesday (anytime) movies are 50cents each.  Now where else can you get a deal like that??

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Information: dial 411

Did you know that to call for information you can dial 411 but there is normally a charge. Now there is also a free service to access the same information if you dial 1-800-FREE-411. You will listen to an advertisement, but, it saves you from having to pay a charge.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

March 2, 2009 9:13 PM

I don't know if this helps, but here's my two cents...

We reduced our energy costs significantly in the winter by putting plastic over our leaky windows. And we keep the house at 70 degrees in the winter and about 75 in the summer, so the heat and a/c don't turn on as often. We also adjust the thermostat so we are not running the heat or a/c as much at night and during the day when we aren't home.

We do the basics too: turning off lights when we leave a room, turning off the computer over night, running the dishwasher only when it's full. And we unplug our various chargers (phone chargers, hand-held video game chargers, etc) when we are done charging - it's a small thing, but it cuts down on the energy drain that happens when those chargers are left plugged in all the time.


March 2, 2009 9:14 PM

I walked around our house unplugging and turning off items that had a little light showing it was ready to turn on or was on. For instance, I don't use my printer everyday but it is on and waiting, so I turned it off and only turn it on when I need to use it. I do use my electric toothbrush everyday and it was always in it's charger, charging 24 hours a day. The toothbrush will hold a charge for over a week, so now I plug it in on Saturday and unplug it on Sunday and it stays charged throughout the week until it's next charge up time. These are little drains on our electricity but they add up over time and they don't need to be on all that time.

Step away from your desk? Turn your computer monitor off. Monitors take quite a bit of energy. If you don't mind plugging your TV in before you turn it on, unplugging it can save quite a bit, plus you might not watch as much because you don't feel like getting down on the floor to plug it back in!

The jury is still out on cell phone chargers. My daughter's roommate said that by unplugging everyone's cell phone chargers unless a phone was actually charging on them, her electricity bill went down. My engineer husband says that they don't draw energy unless the phone is charging on them. I unplug them anyway, it can't hurt.

Pamela Palm
March 2, 2009 9:14 PM
We also keep our house thermostat low – 60 at night and between 62 and 65 during the day. We pull out an extra sweater and slippers during the day and at night we warm up our “bucky” bags. These are buckwheat filled bags ( that we heat for 2 minutes in the microwave just before bed. We put the bags in our bed as we brush our teeth and when we get under the covers our toes are nice and warm. To get used to lower house temperatures, start by lowering the thermostat one degree every 2-3 days until you adjust. You will find that you enjoy the cooler temperatures, especially at night. You will also come to find most buildings you go into unbearably hot and dry!

We only get our movies from the library (free) and use their website to reserve the movies that we want. We pop some popcorn, snuggle under blankets and turn out all the lights. Watching DVDs this way also allows us to pause to answer questions, discuss what is going on and have intermission. For our son’s February birthday, we had 10 boys over for parent-guided wrestling and marbles in the basement followed by subs and a movie from the library. Gift bags were 3 marbles from the Hands-On-Museum (.25 for a shooter and .10 each for 2 smaller marbles) along with directions on how to play marbles. We don’t give out candy or cheap plastic toys – that is money down the drain. The party was inexpensive and got great reviews from the boys.

For free outings, we frequent the Ann Arbor and surrounding town parks. Our favorites are Marshall park, the Arb, Saginaw Woods and Stinchfield woods. There are plenty of fallen trees to climb on, animal tracks to find and paths to explore. We also enjoy Waterloo State Recreation area. It and many of the county and metro parks offer free classes. My whole family just took a free orienteering class at Waterloo this weekend. It was a great way to learn something new and get out in the woods. Don’t be afraid of cold weather – bundle up - the first 5 minutes are the “worst” and then you get used to it. (The cooler temperatures in our house also help ease the transition!)

Our family also enjoys the many free and low cost university sporting events at U of M and Eastern. Our favorites are swimming/diving, gymnastics, wrestling and tennis. An added benefit is that the athletes often stick around after their events to talk with the kids, give away free posters and trading cards.

We try to eat soup for dinner once a week. It is a great way to use up leftovers and extra soup makes a great lunch. It can be made ahead of time, frozen and reheated which also makes it great for dinner before evening activities. We don’t eat out very often but do have potlucks with our neighbors.

Lastly, I would recommend going to the PTO thrift shop, or other resale store. We have found some great items – particularly jackets/coats which the kids seem to quickly grow out of.

If you are having trouble saying “no” to impulse buys, just ask yourself, “do I really need this?” then, take the money that you would have spent on the item and place it in a jar. At the end of the week, see how much money you have saved and pat yourself on the back. You will be surprised!

March 2, 2009 9:16 PM

As times get tighter; we might consider some of the wise social practices of our "poorer" brothers and sisters:

peace and love-
GP AKA: Grace
March 3, 2009 4:53 AM
Kim said...

Two great websites with a lot of ideas and links to all things frugal.

March 7, 2009 6:01 PM
Anonymous said...

I have been shopping for many household items at Dollar General on Washtenaw in Ypsilanti. They have about every item you would need including many food items. They have many of their own store brands which offer the greatest savings.Savings on over the counter medicines, shampoos, etc are about half over prices at Meiers, Krogers; much greater savings over Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS.
This is NOT a "dollar store" (a flea market which offers a lot of cheap items that probably encourage wasteful spending)but rather a compact practical shopping experience that saves a lot of time and money. By reading the label of the store brands, you can see what the national brand equivalent is.
They accept Visa and cash as payment.
I have found that I prefer a smaller store anyway as there is less temptation to buy what you didn't go there for.
March 8, 2009 8:30 AM
Glenn Gottfried said...

Economic belt-tightening forces us to a useful re-examination of our priorities -- what we consider to be "necessary" and what might be more a luxury. Cable or satellite T.V. can easily consume $100/month, to say nothing of time in conversation with family members. (Comcast offers but does not advertise a "Limited Basic" package for around $20/mo which does not require a box, and includes all of the broadcast channels plus a few extras like the Weather Channel.)

The same question goes to communications cost. Eliminate either the "wired" home phone service or the cell phone -- and look at each of the bills carefully. How much does call-waiting or text-messaging cost? It might be time to shop plan and providers, too. Do you use all of the minutes on your plan, or can you switch to something less expensive? There can be another $100/mo savings here.

Good home internet service is important to job seekers most especially, but again, compare, compare, compare. Loyalty to a communications company is not rewarded.

The same logic goes to car and homeowners/renters insurance. Don't drop coverage that would leave you in a bind not to have, but do look carefully at what coverage you have and need, and do shop different providers. Savings can be very substantial -- easily $50/mo.

Gym memberships, "reward" programs which charge membership fees, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, and anything else that just seems automatic and gets paid monthly or annually bears examination. There might be yet another $50 or even $100/mo hiding here.

Anybody who is in the habit of having a little of your money for an ongoing service may well be willing to provide the service for a little less. All of that is work to sort out, but the savings can be huge. The important thing is not to cancel and cut everything to the end of being miserable, but just to be aware of what we have, what we use, what we value, and what we spend.
March 8, 2009 9:14 AM
Anonymous said...

We use coupons for grocery shopping and going out for meals. Also we buy meats on sale and freeze them for dinners. CINDY
March 9, 2009 5:43 AM
I recently saved some money on my natural gas bill. DTE customers can choose an alternate supplier of natural gas. By switching alternate suppliers my price per CCF of natural gas went from $0.99 to $0.71. Had I made the change in time for my most recent billing period I would have received a $66 savings.

March 9, 2009 1:30 PM
Hello, here is a tip for preparing baby food at home...

I have found that the easiest way to prepare our own, homemade baby food is to use a hand blender. I toss in whatever we are having for dinner (meat, veggies and a little liquid) and then blend for a few seconds. I tried a regular blender, food processor, and even a wire strainer (very hard work!), but found I was able to achieve a very smooth consistency with the hand blender. Other family members have found this also works if you cannot chew following dental work.


Kim Bubnic
March 9, 2009 1:45 PM
c miller said...

Instead of taking my kids out to fast food places, I buy what they like and cook it at home. Frozen chicken nuggets and french fries or hamburgers on our grill taste just as good at home and are alot cheaper and the kids get their favorite take out meals.
March 10, 2009 6:41 AM
What is a time bank?

Instead of receiving money for their services, time bank members receive time dollars that can be used to receive a service from another member. For example, spend an hour helping a member shop for groceries, then you can use this one hour credit to get assistance with a need you have, like: yard work, transportation, light housekeeping, home repairs, or many other services. More than just an answer to economic hardship, the WTE is also about building relationships.

The Washtenaw Talent Exchange (WTE) is a time bank with 150 members founded by the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living in 2003. Call 734-971-0277 x27. See:

March 10, 2009 7:34 AM
We bring our food costs to near zero several months a year with just a small amount of effort. We plant a garden. It is good exercise, and you can cancel your membership at the gym. A 10 foot by 20 foot area in your backyard will do as long as it is in full sunlight. Success depends on keeping it simple. Plant radishes, lettuce, onions and potatoes in May. Then plant tomatoes and green beans in June. We eat from the garden all summer and home can the excess. Home canning is easy and inexpensive and provides food for the winter. In the fall we harvest a deer at a local farm, dress it ourselves and put it in our freezer. One day of work provides healthful meat for the entire year at almost no cost. Remember our forefathers had very little money, ate well, and were very healthy.

March 10, 2009 9:40 AM
We found less expensive Prescriptions can be obtained from the Costco Pharmacy on Whitmore Lake Rd. 810-220-8977. Call and get a price.

GO to the Aunt Millie Bread Outlet Store on Michigan Ave. just east of Carpenter Rd.

March 13, 2009 11:14 AM
Anonymous said...

I empty my wallet each day and toss all of my spare change in a jar/basket. At the end of the month, I either roll it and take it to the bank, or go to one of the local supermarkets and use the Coin Jar to get cash back. That extra change can be used for gas money, hair cut, an extra loaf of bread, or something that you need when your budget is tight. You would be surprised how much it adds up! Sometimes, I wait a few months and treat myself to something special that my budget would typically not allow.

“Change” can be positive!


March 26, 2009 8:04 AM
Anonymous said...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Saving Money with your TV
In these harsh economic times we are all looking for little (and
sometimes big) ways to save a dollar here or there. Lisa and I
are no different on that front. Lately we've been looking with
jaundiced eye at our $80 per month cable bill and thinking that
maybe it could be chopped. But how? Here's what we did and are
planning to do. Perhaps this will give you a few ideas.

1. Making a List. We sat down, first, to figure out exactly
what we were watching. What programs on which channels?
Surprisingly (or not) about 60% of what we watched was on the
normal broadcast channels.

2. Find New Sources, Part 1. The shows that we watch on the
broadcast channels were the easiest to deal with. I signed up to
get our coupons to purchase a digital TV converter box
( That pays for $40 of the box
(usually around $40 to $60). After I set that up, we should be
able to get most of the local stations in crystal clear digital.
I've already set this up on my mother-in-law's TV and the image
is pretty darn good.

3. Find New Sources, Part 2. Next came the trickier part --
those programs *not* on broadcast. We watch several shows on
cable stations like the Sci-Fi channel and the USA Network. What
about them? A converter box isn't going to help there. Well, I
took my list to the Internet. No, I didn't go looking for
pirated copies of them. I went to Sure enough, Hulu
had the last five episodes or more of each of these shows. That
meant I could at least watch them on my computer. The cool
thing, though, is that my notebook computer has an S-video port.
A quick stop at and I had an S-video cable to hook my
computer directly to my TV. Now I can watch any of those shows
on the big screen.

4. Deal with the Challenges. As they say, sacrifice would be a
lot more popular if you didn't have to give anything up. There
are some shows that you just can't find anywhere else but on
cable. For example, if you spend all of your time watching Food
Network, you might only be able to locate about half of the
programs you like. If you are a big sports fan, getting your
ESPN fix is going to be a bit challenging. Basically, it comes
down to asking yourself if watching those shows is worth $1000
per year.

I know this all seems like a bit of a hassle, but if you are
looking for ways to trim the budget, sometimes you have to feel a
little discomfort to get what you want. For me it looks like it
will definitely be worth it. I'll have to let you know how well
it works in the long run.

Have you found some ways to trim your expenses either online or
off without really giving up what you enjoy? I'd love to hear
about it. Drop me a line at

Copyright 2009, Greg Peters