2015 Needs-Not-Wants challenge - Page 3
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  1. #31
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Cab54, there are lots of recipes for homemade snack cake mixes, brownie mixes, etc. They're easy to mix up and easy to store and use. Search online. It can take some trial and error to find one that you like best. I usually make a partial batch to test the recipe.

    It's easy to find all kinds of seasoning mixes, too, like taco seasoning mixes, whatever. Those are rip-off items in the store, IMO, because almost all of them list the first ingredients as some form of sodium, so you're paying a lot for salt and not getting much for real flavor. By making your own, you can leave out some or all of the salt and get real flavor instead. Again, search for seasoning mix recipes and you'll turn up an infinite variety, or search for a specific type you might like such as Emeril's Cajun Seasoning Mix, or whatever you're looking for. There are clone recipes for almost everything. Mixing your own allows you to adjust seasonings to your liking, too, so if you prefer more or less of certain flavors, you can easily adjust.

    If you use Bisquick, you can easily DIY that mix, too. Again, it might take a little trial and error to find a recipe you like, but it's worth it when you can make for pennies what otherwise will cost you much more.

    You can freeze most cookie doughs. Make the dough into logs and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze the wrapped logs on a cookie sheet so they lay straight till they're frozen, then slice and bake for fresh cookies anytime. If the cookies have chunky ingredients, such as chocolate chips, cut a slice an inch or so thick, then cut into quarters and bake. They might not be circular when they're backed but they'll taste the same. If you're in doubt about whether or not a dough will freeze well, hold back enough dough the next time you make a batch,to make a 'log' about two inches long, wrap, freeze, then slice and bake. If it turns out, great, make a note on the recipe that the dough can be frozen or if it does not freeze well, and then you'll always know for future reference.

    I make my own brown sugar by simply using white sugar in the amount the recipe calls for for the brown sugar, and then adding molasses to taste. No more having to store brown sugar and having it get hard. We started doing this because we had a lot of molasses to use up, but ended up liking it so much we just bought more molasses when we ran out. Doubt we'll ever go back to buying brown sugar.

    One thing I found when I started making my own mixes and cooking more from scratch is how much more pantry space I have. I no longer need tons of shelf space for mixes because I can make a wide variety with just a few basic ingredients. Love that! I also avoid a lot of the additives in store mixes, another win.

  2. #32
    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    Hi, FW and SD! I already make my own taco seasoning, enchilada sauce, Bisquick mix, I've made a couple of barbeque rubs, I make my own BBQ sauce, tried mayo, but didn't like it, I also make hm alfredo sauce. And some other things I can't remember right now.

    I'll have to try making 2-3 times the cookie dough, and freezing! I like anything that saves me making a mess of the kitchen ----again. Also, the brown sugar idea is good. Thx!

  3. #33
    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    Oh, and I would love to do the vinegar cleaner, but DH is retired and home all of the time, and he hates the smell. I'm just going to try and find the best all-purpose buys I can. I have used dish soap (in spray bottle) before when it's all I have. I do Flylady and as she always says---soap is soap.

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  5. #34
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    I have to say I admire you for using the same budget you used 15 years ago. That is an accomplishment in itself. Do you have a Dollar Tree? Ours recently had tons of different Clorox Clean Up products from toilet cleaner to spray in regular size bottles. Same with Comet .. several different products but all Comet. Wish I'd bought several instead of the just one I did buy. Now they aren't there. If they get more in I WILL stock this time.
    Bank of America is THE godfather of Hell with Wells Fargo running neck and neck. When the world ends the only things that will be left are cockroaches, Walmart, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Not necessarily in that order. The order remains to be seen.

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  6. #35
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    haha-I call bologna on your DH again. The vinegar smell dissipates very quickly. Now the pinesol OMG it goes in my lungs and it makes me dizzy. If I throw the rags/paper towels in the trash or a bag to clean-pew!

    Fighting w/ myself about saving empty bottles as containers. Clutter or money saving. So far I am voting clutter. I do have a lg. collection of XL canning jars and Rubbermaid I reclaimed this year.

  7. #36
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    This is where I wish everyone owned a copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette..it might be quite outdated but so useful in saving you money in a lot of different categories.

    Hugs..

  8. #37
    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    NikoSan---yes, I have a dollar tree locally and love it. I have bought some bathroom cleaning supplies there, and also H&B and ALWAYS wrapping paper and bows, etc.

    Brenda, read the TG quite a few years ago. Loved it. She definitely is a frugal goddess. Could use many of her ideas, not all. Some just too far out there for me. Need to read it again. Have to go to the library, tho.

  9. #38
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    I read that the beginning of this year again and found outdated,a lot of things too far out there or a lot of things I am doing. So I started searching those frugal grandma sites and hit a couple of good ones.

  10. #39
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Same here, FW. Not a lot of useful info in them for me. Maybe I've just progressed beyond them after all these years. They're probably worth reading for those who are new to frugal thinking.

  11. #40
    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    A No-spend day. Breakfast for dinner tonight, usually a $$ saving move. Working on using up sock yarn stash for donation. DS1's friend is a teacher and they have a drive at the school to gather clothing for inner city children who have nothing to wear in the winter.

    My attention today is on using up. Starting with breakfast stuff (those cereals no one eats, and small amt of oatmeal in the back of the cupboard, and also lunch stuff (all of those leftovers I freeze that are one serving and I can eat them up for lunch rather than BUYING something else at the store for lunches.

    Need to also watch better for specials and sales and stock up on these as much as possible in pantry and in freezer.

    Saved $18+ with coupons yesterday---on stuff I actually need and use. I hate to watch them expire if it's something I'm going to need to buy in the future----so I stockpile.

  12. #41
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    I think I need this thread, ok to jump in?

    One year I got sick then sicker, have some long term disability finally after several months with no income. My EF is well funded BUT not if I have to keep having tests at our competitor's hospital, they cover some but essentially not much so I have at least one test I should be getting a bill for soon for maybe 2k. I will change insurance during open enrollment to a plan that covers both equally.

    I did great for that whole year, did not buy anything not absolutely necessary. I was told that the LTD plan we have is utter crap, no one qualifies, or you qualify and then they drop you after a few months. So I was shocked when I got it (I am waiting for a SSDI hearing). At first I just bought basic stuff I really needed, sleepwear, casual cotton tops since I won't be working, socks, undies, a bra. All for very cheap. An example, Kohl's could not complete an order so they took the item off the order but did not take away all the coupon codes I used, they ended up paying me 25cents for 2 shirts. Very inexpensive sheets and some towels. Then I did some frugal Christmas shopping. None of this was very bad, I was using deal sites and coupon codes, it all was incredibly cheap. But it was still money going out.

    then I noticed I was buying more from Kohl's than I needed trying to get Kohl's cash or use their codes to get things that were not a necessity. Today I broke my honor code regarding purses. I love to buy purses on clearance in the $20-30 range, I have way too many, have purged some. But they make me happy and fit in bins in my closet. I'm sure there will come a day, if I do not get better and return to work, that then I will be willing to purge. Today, I bought 2 Simply Vera purses for about $20 each after discounts, actually a bit less than that. So is less then $40 gonna break the bank? No. But should I be spending money on wants now, of all the times in my life? Absolutely not. I got that deal and told myself, "spend $40 on yourself, you are not spending on going out or to the movies or on restaurants. You deserve $40."

    and it is exactly that thinking that will be a problem. I never go overboard and am good at finding amazing deals, I have never not paid a cc bill in full, so I won't hurt myself over a measly $40 but it's the mind set I don't want back. A self-justified, $40 gift to myself is no biggie but I have to STOP right now. I need to be massively upping the EF and I do not need "treats", I am an adult and need to behave like one. Maybe when they come, I will have the willpower to return them! yeah, doubt it and this is why I need to go back to no spending that is not necessary.

    this is the first time I've ever held myself accountable in public. I look forward to reading the old threads for advice. Thank you!

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