Updated on 07.28.08

Eight Little Frugal Tactics I’ve Found So Far This Summer

Trent Hamm

My wife and I both like to press our creativity and see what money-saving tactics we can come up with that save a sizable amount of money and have a lot of fun along the way. Here are eight we’ve discovered over the last several months (yep, I’ve been saving these along the way).

1. Community festivals can be a very cheap way to spend a summer weekend, particularly ones near your home or ones that line up well with other planned summer trips. Just take along a sack lunch, watch a parade and the other activities (or even participate), and even sample some of the local fare by buying one and sharing it with the rest of your group. Even better, you can participate in events that push you a bit outside your comfort zone and let you try something a bit different than usual.

For example, this past weekend, my wife and children and I attended Nordic Fest in Decorah, Iowa, which happened to fall on the same weekend as a family event. We spent most of Saturday at the festival. We tried out some of the Norwegian food (abelskivers were my favorite – balls of a pancake-like pastry covered in jam and powdered sugar, and they were only $0.25 a pop). We watched the parade (free). Our children got their faces and arms painted (free). We even spent a couple hours in the afternoon watching a rock throwing contest in which I participated. In fact, here’s a video of one of my attempts, in which I chuck a hundred pound rock roughly nineteen feet.

A cheap weekend of fun for the whole family, indeed. (If you’re unable to see the video, check it out here.)

2. Prepare a meal before you go on a long trip. Before a recent weekend trip, we made eggplant lasagna and put it in the refrigerator. Three days later, when we returned mid-afternoon, worn out from a very active weekend, we just popped the lasagna in the oven and had a very inexpensive home-cooked meal.

Before figuring this out, we would often eat out at the end of a long trip because we were worn out after the trip. It was simply much easier to do that than to go home and prepare a meal, and that often meant $20 to $30 would be invested in the meal. By preparing the “welcome home” meal before we left, we trimmed the cost down to $3 or so.

3. Be inclusive with the neighbors as it can save you money and help forge powerful relationships. We have a swing set and a sandbox in our yard and as our son has grown older, he’s begun to interact quite a bit with other children nearby. With the recent arrival of a new family next door, with a youngest child just slightly older than our son, this has kicked up a notch.

We just made it very clear to the neighbors that their children were welcome to play in our yard and on our play equipment, no questions asked, the very day they moved in. Before long, they had invited other children in the neighborhood to play on the equipment and we welcomed all of them. Because of this, our son has had an army of children to play with all summer, we’ve become familiar with many more families on the block, and our son has been invited to play with many other children, improving his social skills. All with absolutely no cost to us (and often some savings, considering we’re playing in the yard instead of engaging in other activities).

4. Making your own beer and wine is very cost-effective if you prefer craft beers and solid wines. If you’re a “two buck Chuck” person or you prefer Busch Light to everything else, making your own beer isn’t very cost-effective. However, if your tastes run more towards craft beers and solid offerings from local vineyards, then making your own can be very cost-effective (and very tasty, to boot).

For example, my wife and I recently made a batch of oatmeal stout at home. Oatmeal stouts are rather intricate brews with a lot of ingredients and you can rarely find them in stores for less than $11 per six pack of bottles. We made forty two bottles of oatmeal stout for about $45, all told. This averaged out to about $6.50 per six pack of bottles. Now, if you compare that price to most mainstream beers (Busch, Budweiser, Miller), that’s not a particularly strong savings, but if you compare it to more craft-oriented beers (Sam Adams, Goose Island, Sierra Nevada, Rogue, etc.), it can be a serious bargain – and a lot of fun. If there’s interest, I’d be glad to post a walkthrough and a cost analysis of the next batch we make.

5. I’ve started to save my shredded paper because it makes spectacular campfire kindling. Whenever I have a pile of papers to shred, I just shred them up, then get them just a little wet. Then I squeeze the shredded moist paper down into a consistent but loose ball (mostly just making sure they stick together from the moisture), then let the ball dry out in the garage.

Before a camping trip, I grab a few of these dry balls of paper and pack them away. Then, when we build a campfire, I stack up the wood, put the dry paper ball at the bottom, and light the paper ball. It goes up in flames very quickly and usually has enough heat in a football-sized ball to get some smaller pieces of wood burning. This saves money on campfire starters and lets us actually utilize the shredded papers instead of just tossing them in the trash.

6. Another “hot” tip – campfire ashes make great fertilizer. Just scoop up the ashes when you’re done and save them in a container. When you get home, dump them out around the base of any bushes you have, in your garden, or even in your compost bin. Wood ash contains plenty of potassium, calcium, and magnesium and works well as a fertilizer if applied at a rate of about five pounds per hundred square feet.

It’s worthwhile to note that you shouldn’t do this if your soil is already very alkaline. If you garden, you probably already have some idea as to the pH of your soil – if you don’t, do a pH test. If the pH is above 7 or 8, don’t add wood ashes to your soil. However, if the pH is lower, wood ashes will be a nice benefit – and you can’t argue with the cost and environmental friendliness of the source.

7. Look for “mistinted” paint at your local hardware store if you’re about to paint a room and don’t have a need for an exact shade. You’ll often find gallons for just a dollar or two and the paint is just fine – it just happened to not perfectly color match someone else’s needs. Often, you can find enough for a room of the exact same shade and, if not, you can easily get more just by asking them to make more of that shade.

This works best if you’ve decided to re-paint a room but aren’t too worried about the exact color of the room. For example, we’re discussing repainting my office in a light green. Since I’m not too concerned about the exact shade, we’ll just dig through their “mistinted” paint until I find a “light green” that I like and get it for incredibly cheap. That’s how you redecorate for pennies.

8. Perennial vegetables are an incredibly cost-effective (and effort effective) way to garden. Take, for example, our asparagus patch. We started it this spring and have some shoots up out of the ground. For the next three years, we’ll not even touch this patch – nothing at all. After that, fresh asparagus every spring, like clockwork, with no effort.

If you like fresh garden fare but hate planting and dealing with gardening and you also don’t like the cost of replenishment each year, look into planting perennials, which grow up automatically each spring. Many herbs are perennials, as are asparagus, Pacific spinach, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and countless others. Just plant them once and they come back every year with very little tending required, just harvesting. That’s cost-effective gardening.

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  1. Dave says:

    Great post to give me some new ideas. When I get my own place, I’m definitely starting up a garden. Trent, do you have any favorite gardening sites?

    PS good rock chucking ;)

  2. Frugal Dad says:

    Nice toss! My shoulder hurt just watching you (still getting over rotator cuff injury). I like the idea of using shredded paper as kindling. We’ve saved twisted newspaper for that very purpose, and the shredded paper balls sound effective.

    I wish we were closer to our neighbors, but most don’t have small kids, and those that do kind of keep to themselves. I’m hoping as school starts back we’ll meet some new people in the neighborhood so our kids will have some new playmates.

  3. Ken says:

    Some very nice tips. We had the swing set when the kids were kids (45 years back). It’s a super idea.

  4. billy says:

    I’d be very interested to hear more about home brewing. It’s a project I’ve been meaning to start for awhile, ever since picking up a Zine about it, but I’ve been waiting until I have a weekend free to get started and pick up the supplies.

  5. MoneyBlogga says:

    The eggplant lasagna sounds delicious. Care to share the recipe?

  6. Susan in CA says:

    I love the shredded paper ball/campfire kindling idea!

  7. clint says:

    I love the camp fire idea. I am a Scoutmaster and will be sharing that one with the Boys in my Troop.

    Thanks for the ideas.

    Clint Lawton


  8. Carrie says:

    Great post, I think the shredded paper balls will also work to start our smoker.

    One quick note on using ashes as fertilizer and in compost is that you can only use wood ashes. You can not use charcoal ashes because of the chemicals used in the process of making charcoal.

  9. Julie says:

    I’d definitely be interested in a home brew article. I’ve been wanting to try making some, but we don’t have a lot of room right now for more equipment (I’m already in a cheese-making kick), and storage of the brew. When we’re in a house and have a little more room, I will definitely be trying my hand at brewing.

  10. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    The rock throw was fun. My biggest problem was a difficulty gripping the rock, which was a bit slippery… just before I tossed it, I almost dropped it (and you can tell from the video if you look carefully).

  11. Dan Bruns says:

    Did you ever do shot put in your earlier years?

    Also wouldn’t Decorah be around a 3 and a half hour drive for you? Maybe I’ll have to check it out next year, it sounds fun.

  12. BonzoGal says:

    Beer and wine making articles would be very interesting. We have lots of brewpubs near where I live, but the cost of craft beers is still pretty high here, around $9-$12 a six-pack.

    At the bio-tech company I used to work for, there were quite a few home-brewers, so once in a while we’d have a “Fermentation Process Meeting” to share the results!

  13. J says:

    I love the idea of a welcome home meal. Seems so obvious yet I never thought of it. You could even apply this to any busy day. Thanks for the tip!

    For those of you interested in home brewing you can get great starter kits from MoreBeer.com. You just pick a recipe and they send you everything you need, including ingredients, equipment, and step by step instructions. Then once you get the hang of it and start to figure out what you do and do not like, you can start creating your own recipes, and buying ingredients seperately. We now buy ours from a local home brew supply store. Once 5 gal batch of beer produces 40 – 45 bottles and costs between $35 and $45 a batch depending on what type you make.

  14. dave says:

    do you worry about legal liability when allowing the neighborhood kids to play on your playground equipment?

  15. Kaye says:

    I too love the “rejected” paint. You can find such a great deal there…sometimes in a color that you surprisingly love!

  16. KellyB says:

    You and your wife are so clever! I never would have thought to make a “welcome home meal” ahead of time, but you are right – no one feels like cooking when you get back from a trip. Great idea to save some money!!

  17. Strider says:

    Trent, I’d be interested in a cost analysis and walkthrough of your next batch of brew. I’ve brewed about 6 batches of wine (always from kits) and 1 batch of beer. I spent $60 on my next batch of beer (Scottish Ale, malt syrup and grains) which should make 5 gallons – about $1.20/bottle. Just waiting to buy a 6 gallon stock pot to get started…

  18. Andy says:

    Growing your own herbs is a GREAT idea. Fresh herbs are much better than dried, and even if you buy them each year, a plant costs about as much as a small fresh bunch from the grocery store, but you get to use it all summer (and winter if you can grow them inside).

  19. April says:

    Please, please, please share the brewing process! I hve bros-in-law who love micro brews and I would love to be able to give them some fun Christmas gifts — maybe a print-out of your tutorial!

  20. Randy says:

    Making your own beer or wine is not only inexpensive, but fairly interesting and fun as well. My wife and I have gotten into the habit of making at least one batch of wine per year; and sometimes we also make a batch of cider.

    If you do your research, I guarantee that you’ll be able to make a beverage that’s every bit as good as (or even better than) what you buy at your local grocery.

  21. Heidi says:

    Home brew post please! I’d also be interested in how much space it takes up. I have visions of not being able to take a shower for beer in my one tub. This would smell bad ;)

    I love love love the welcome home meal idea. Thanks!

  22. Craig Klein says:

    and #9 – stop commuting and use an online collaboration or contact management system to coordinate with your team!

  23. I too started brewing my own beer to save money (I love, love craft beers).

    The initial kit with the essential supplies ran approximately $90 from my local brewing-supply store. The actual beer ingredients were $45.

    I used a kit for an IPA, and just bottled about 4.5 gallons of beer. In four weeks or so, I shouldn’t have to buy beer for quite some time!

  24. Brad says:

    Another vote for hearing about your home brewing experiences.

  25. w says:

    a home brewing post, please! including the equipment start up costs. my city’s brew store sells various starter kits between $75 – $140. are those a good deal?

  26. jared says:

    we used to make “fire starters” with dryer lint, cardboard egg crates, and parrafin wax. You just mix up the used dryer lint and the wax and put it in cardboard egg crates — let it solidify, then cut up each little compartment and you have a whole set of fire starters. super effective.

  27. Matt says:

    I’m sure you already know I’d be interested in a home wine making post. My wife’s coworker gave her a huge bag of cherries that we didn’t know how we’d possibly use them all before going bad. Despite your advice of starting simple in your other post, there is now a couple liters of cherry must fermenting in my basement. Hopefully it turns out well, can’t argue with the base ingredients cost though. ;)

  28. Charles says:

    Milk stout is my favorite drink in the world — I would definitely be interested in an outmeal stout walkthrough.

  29. Shevy says:

    I remember making fire starters in Girl Guides (many, many years ago) out of empty tuna tins, cardboard boxes cut into strips the height of the tin and then rolled up tightly, with paraffin poured over. You just have to be careful when you melt the wax, because it can catch on fire if you get it too hot. Always have a fire extinguisher handy.

    Homebrewing would be kind of interesting, but I’ve already asked you several questions about wine. I’m always looking to get good tips as I begin with my own fruit wine.

  30. Brad says:

    I recently found grapes at my family’s ranch and want to make my own wine. I would love some good resources

  31. Mike says:

    I’d love to see a home-brew post! I just discovered my taste for beer not too long ago, and the only beverages that taste good to me are either Irish imports or microbrews (for the most part).

  32. Ryan says:

    Would love to see a homebrewing post, Trent! I’ve been deep into craft beers for a few years now, but have yet to homebrew; just cursory interest, thus far.

  33. Jon says:

    I wonder if anyone is interested in a home brewing post? :)

  34. Drew says:

    I’d love to hear more about the homebrewing, I’m more concerned with how to get started and have a decent first batch. I don’t want to end up with a bunch of beer that isn’t worth drinking on the first batch.

  35. Gretchen says:

    OK, I’m totally going to be a bummer here, but realize that by inviting children into your yard (especially when you’re not there), you could be held liable if someone falls off a swing and breaks their arm or whatever. It’s sad but true – people sue. That said, short of making every child’s parent sign a release and being labeled the crazy family in the neighborhood, you should periodically inspect the swing set and repair any problems or put up a big sign.

  36. Eric says:

    Heck yeah we want to see a post detailing the home brew process. I’ve had a kit sitting in my basement for over 2 years but I’m scared to death to open it and brew a batch for fear of messing up and ruining the whole thing. I loved your old walk through with pictures of how to make home made bread. I imagine this would be similar? You can’t post this quick enough as far as I’m concerned!

  37. Briana says:

    I love the paint idea. I work at the local Home Depot and we call it “Oops paint”. Usually this means that the associate made a mistake when tinting the paint more so than the customer didn’t like it. You can usually get some pretty nice color choices in a variety of sheens. You can even have more paint tinted to match the “oops” color if you’re doing a larger room. Of course the extra paint would be at full price. Thanks for passing on this idea.

  38. Karen says:

    Yes I want a post about home brewing and wine making also. Bring it on Trent!!

  39. Amanda says:

    Tip #5 is fantastic.
    Tip #8: I’ve always thought about perennial flowers, but never veggies. Seriously great tip.

  40. Another Personal Finance Blog says:

    I would love to see a post on the beer brewing!

    We have perennial artichokes, strawberries and herbs in our garden. Not only do they return every year, but they produce more each year.

  41. Katie says:

    I’m with Gretchen re: liability for injuries to people playing in your yard! Your insurance agent would have a COW about this. If you intend to continue you really must look in to an “umbrella” policy. When I was a home day care provider I had liability coverage of $1 million. You should have at least that much–and I’m not an insurance agent. I too live in the midwest, but if the worst happens and someone is seriously injured they will be suing you.

  42. D says:

    Hi Trent,

    Could you please make a post about how to make your own wine ? We have a cherry tree and there is soo much fruit that between us, the neighbours and the birds, we can not finish them up. I would like to try to make some cherry wine.


  43. Jane says:

    Am I the only one getting multiples of today’s email from Trent? I’m up to 4 so far. Not 150 like before, but still …

  44. Chiara says:

    Yeah, it’s depressing and un-neighborly to consider, but the liability thing is very true. My husband represents people who have been sued for personal injury in cars or homes (you can imagine how vigilant he is about our own insurance). I’m sure this is discussed elsewhere on this site, but I’ll chime in too: Everyone with assets should have umbrella coverage on a homeowners policy, and not just for swingsets, but any injury that might take place on your property. Definitely have people over and enjoy the neighbors, but protect yourself against an accident just like you would against fire.

    It’s not even a matter of whether we believe a friend or neighbor would want to sue us. They may have no choice, either because they have no way to pay the medical bills or because their own insurance company is going for reimbursement. And trying to prove we’re not liable for an accident takes a lot of defense costs that will be supplied by insurance if we have the coverage.

  45. TJP says:

    we LOVE micro brew beer. I pay $7-9 per six, the cost has gone up quite a bit in the last year. I find the drug store sells one of the local Pale Ales for the best price. I’d love to see a post on this, we have some of the materials to start and my husband has been talking about it for 15 years….would have been better if he’d done it when we had two kitchens! Anyhow, I did hear the price of hops went up. Is this true and how much? We like hoppy beer. On a side note, I live in New England and the cost of maple syrup has mor ethan doubled in the last 6 months! I did have a $20 GC for Amazon from doing a survey so I got some there but I have GOT to find a better deal than $36 for 64 oz!

  46. Brian says:

    You guys want to know how to brew? Here is a good resource, this is his entire book online. http://www.howtobrew.com

    Personally Charlie Papazian’s book “The Complete Joy Of Homebrewing” is the best hands down, but that link is very good (and free, since we are talking about how to save money!)

  47. Heather says:

    GREAT ideas!! I love reading frugal tips that are not-your-average-turn-the-water-heater-down tips. Also I will echo the requests for a homebrew post. I don’t like beer but my husband will only drink Guinness-quality beers and would have a lot of fun with this.

  48. Thanks so much for the great idea to leave a prepared meal behind when you take a short trip. You are right on, it’s so tempting to call for delivery when you arrive home exhausted. Even a Stouffers frozen lasagna or chicken & rice bake would be cheaper than Pizza Hut. Actually, a Tombstone Supreme with extra cheese and some canned anchovies doesn’t sound bad either. Understand that you have the best idea – a delicious home-cooked dish awaiting you. The key is to think about it before you leave. I will from now on. Thanks!

  49. Jillian says:

    Wow. Just wow. You can’t let the neighbourhood kids come over because they might injure themselves? I am SO glad I don’t live in America.

  50. Joe says:

    I am a home brewer and disagree with your comment about brewing being cost effective. I’m not sure where you buying your craft beers, but around here, you can get “Downtown Brown” from Lost Coast brewery for $7.49 a six pack.


    While home brewing is fun, and a great hobby, I can’t justify it by price. You didn’t take into account other materials used, such as propane, etc. It also takes quite a bit of time. About 6 hours for all grain.

  51. Michelle H. says:

    When I met my husband his entire house, inside and out, was painted in different shades of “oops” blue paint. I always hit the paint section at the hardware store to see if they have any oops paint I can use. I’m currently looking for a light brown shade, but picked up a great green for my son’s room. At less than $5 a can, it’s a great deal if you’re not too sold on a particular shade.

  52. anonforthis says:

    No, you DO let the neighborhood kids come over (unless you’re that weird lady with the awesome blackberry tree in my old neighborhood who always chased us out). You just get the insurance. At least be smug about the truth. :)

  53. Anthony says:

    In response to the homebrew requests – it’s easy to get into. I highly recommend “How to Brew” [ http://www.amazon.com/How-Brew-Everything-Right-First/dp/0937381888/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217399772&sr=8-2 ]. It’s got *everything* you need to know, explained clearly and concisely. For those of you geeks to need to know all the details, it will certainly satisfy you with chemical reactions and fluid dynamics for lautering.

    It will also help a great deal to have a brewstore nearby, mainly for supplies and advice… although you can certainly find what you need online. Fresh ingredients are important too. Whatever you do, DON’T get the el-cheapo “Mr. Beer” kits, they are worthless. I spent around $110 for a good entry-level kit at my local homebrew store.

    Homebrew is a very enjoyable hobby and the results can be amazing, even far surpassing what you can find in the store. My first-time Sierra Nevada-style IPA came out great. :)

  54. jeff says:

    work a lot of hours…in the raised floor….save on air conditioning costs.

  55. Mike says:

    I can imagine people blithely dumping Wood Ash all over their plants and killing them as the result of this article.

    Wood Ash is a powerful alkaline agent. Only use Wood Ash if you know what the pH of your soil is. Reference this article from Purdue Univ. on the use of Wood Ash. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/woodash.html

  56. Misty says:

    Please tell us how you make your beer! I have looked into other websites on home brewing but found that they were a little bit confusing. My husband is very interested in doing this- his brother has started and has a pretty elaborate process set up. I know that eventually he will want to go out and buy what his brother has- but if we can try it without, hopefully I can discourage that spending!
    PS- I really like it when you do the step by step and photo directions (like when you made the laundry detergent)

  57. Mrs. Frugal Folkes says:

    I can’t go along with your vision of “America” doing just fine for one reason: THE JOB MARKET. When college-educated and other hard-working Americans, who want to work, can not find jobs even half-way comparable in pay to those they lost, that’s a serious problem.

    My husband is thankfully employed, but has been downsized 3 times in mergers. He’s been looking for a new job for 4 years, now. My teacher-friend with a Yale education doesn’t think he’ll ever be well-employed again. He’s just patching together work here and there with freelance “gigs.” Other friends who have lost jobs have found themselves unemployed for up to a year. You can say they should forget about engineering and programming and whatever they were educated to do, and just accept a job at McDonald’s…but here’s the problem, particularly for single wage earners: 1)It won’t pay the mortgage or the rent. 2)In our area, many of those jobs are already occupied by various economic refugees from other countries. And #2 has been an on-going problem for my neighbor across the street. She doesn’t have a college education, and is repeatedly hired, asked to teach administrative skills to foreign-born workers, then laid-off when the lower-paid employee has learned what to do. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t have a have a problem with immigration. I have a problem with the Bush economic policies that made it so hard for all of us to find well-paying jobs in this land that I love! My best friend, a computer programmer, immigrated here from India 19 years ago, and found the U.S. a land of opportunity and a great place to raise her children. Recently, the company she works for was purchased in a merger. Now, if she loses her job here, she’s seriously thinking of going back to India because the job market looks more promising there, and her income will stretch to include maids and other luxuries, to boot. I never thought I’d see the day when anyone would leave America for a job in a third-world country.

    Trent, I’m glad the kids are playing happily across the street from you. They are playing here, too. But if you go inside and meet the parents in my New Jersey neighborhood, I think you’ll find quite a few who are worried about losing their jobs, and wondering how they’ll ever find another that will cover the mortgage or rent.

    Mrs. Folkes

  58. Mrs. Frugal Folkes says:

    Opps! My post should have gone under your article on “Class Warfare.”

  59. Matthew says:

    Wonderful tips, especially about the kids! Parents often forget that kids have some of the best imaginations and really don’t need the most expensive toys, video games, and gadgets to have fun, just other kids to imagine with!


  60. NED says:

    Interesting set of tips, I do have a query tho.

    For the firestarter tip, i presume they were printed or written on with ink-pens. Won’t burning such paper cause noxious fumes as the ink reacts?

  61. Jason says:

    looks like your going to make a homebrewing post
    soon Trent! I would like to know about the lowest cost, simple dollar way for homebrewing. LOVE craft beer

    —-grow your own veggies

  62. Janna says:

    I am definitely interested in seeing the beer walkthrough!

  63. Be careful about the home-brewing! If you’re the kind of person who likes to get deeper into a hobby, you could easily start shelling out hundreds of dollars on all-grain brewing, kegging and brew huts.

    However, if you’re willing to dive down the rabbit hole, http://www.homebrewtalk.com is a great place to start.

  64. Chris says:

    Somehow I doubt you *really* need another comment over someone being interested in the homebrewing, but you’re still getting another one saying I’d be interested….

    I’m assuming ashes from using one of those self-contained metal firepits would you just fine, wouldn’t it?

  65. Caitlin says:

    Thanks for the tip on “mistinted” paint! I’d never have thought of that!

  66. Jason says:

    Another thing you can do w/ the shredded paper is compost it. Just make sure it isn’t the slick, glossy stuff, like magazines are. Otherwise, I just mix the stuff w/ grass clippings and fruit/veggie refuse, wet it down, and let ‘er rot!
    Voila! Free fertilizer!

  67. John says:

    If there’s interest, I’d be glad to post a walkthrough and a cost analysis of the next batch we make.

    There is- please post.

  68. I whole heartedly agree about brewing your own beer. Brewing beer and isn’t just about the finished product either. Getting together with friends and neighbors while brewing is a great pass time. Two weekends ago I brewed a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone with a bunch of friends. Tonight I’m going to taste it for the first time.

    If you’re looking for resources on how to brew beer check out my site. (free :-)

  69. Kevin says:

    Not a perenial plant, but my wife planted 5 kale plants this year. We’ve been harvesting the outside leaves only, and we’ve gotten a great cooking green for at least 10 meals so far this summer, and we’ll probably get 6 or 7 more.

  70. Dave says:

    Most definitely on the home brew experience. I like decent beer/wine – but cringe at the thought of paying as much as I do for a bottle.

    Fire the kettle!

  71. Sara says:

    I have worked many years of my life in the home improvement industry stores. Along with the mistinted paint situation quite often you can still retint that same paint to your liking. The best paint to grab are the mistint whites- yes they do happen. Grab the color you really want and wow!- you have a color you intended to have. Now lets say it origionally would have cost you $30 for that gallon of paint, it is marked down to $10- I bet if you bargain the salesperson at the paint counter you could even shave off from that price. They typically want it gone and don’t really care what the costs are to them since it is a financial loss anyhow. It would cost them more to dispose since it is technically a chemical then it is to just mark it down for you to buy. Plus they like the free space for future mistints. Also keep in mind this isn’t just for paint but also stains too. Another shave to home improvement projects are closeouts and damaged materials. Quite often cabinets can have minimal damage but still be used (the back is cracked) or returns due to missordered sizes. I have saved $100’s of dollars on misordered items to remodel my home I purchased 4 years ago buying seconds and mis ordered items. For example I bought a full fiberglass tub for $50 because it had a chip at the top and exposed the fiberglass. A repair kit cost me $8.00 so for $58 I had a brand new tub that works and no one but me will ever see versus a tub that costs $500. I bought a display dishwasher for $99 because it was just that a display that was being discontinued with a new model that origionally cost $500. If you are in no hurry to do the projects the return can save $100’s of dollars if you are willing to shop and save.

  72. Cibbuano says:

    great post and website… I like how a lot of these tips put you back into living like a human being. It’d be easy to suggest not spending any money and locking yourself at home, but spending less while getting out in the sun? Great!

  73. BJ says:

    Yes, please do a walkthrough on your experience of making your own beer and (secondarily) wine! I’m about to invest in the equipment and supplies to make my own in the next couple of months, and would love to see your setup. I love to have a variety of beers, but find there are three I repeatedly buy, especially when faced with a limited selection, those being Beck’s Dark, Sierra Nevada IPA, and the favorite, Sam Adam’s Boston Ale. I’d love to see how you brew frugally, so I can take your advice and start on the path of replicating my favorites.

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