A Bunch of Frugal Tips

Everyday, the Frugal Yankee reads something or hears something to help us spend less and enjoy life more. They are frugal tips and we collect them. This page is dedicated to them. We'll be adding more regularly, so please check back.
If you got a tip let us know. Just leave a comment below or send us an email at Tips@FrugalYankee.com. We like to share!

TIPS DU JOUR: Bright Idea

Doesn't it seem there is confusion on how to save on energy? Well, here is a simple rule about light bulbs. Turn incandescent lights off if leaving a room for 5 secs or more. Turn CFLs off if leaving for 15 mins. or more. That's so easy even a teenagers could remember it.

Tucked up in the north country of New Hampshire is an octogenarian fellow who has raised a big family, lives on 200 acres, still heat his house with wood. He has forgotten more about country living then I'll ever know. Here are a few of his thoughts.

Sometimes we just need a little help figuring things out. The HOW TO...section has just that.

BATHROOM: You've probably tried running hot water over your clogged hair spray nozzle, but many times it just doesn't do the trick. Get that bottle of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol out and dip the nozzle into a little bit of it and let sit for a few minutes. Wipe off and you're ready to spray. You'll keep your "do" from becoming a "don't" and you won't waste any hair spray, and therefore, won't be wasting any money!

BATHROOM: Keep your shaving razor sharper and longer with a little post shave care. Simply, dry the blade, that will prevent rust from dulling and nicking up the blade. Then take an old toothbrush and brush off as much of the stubble stuck between the blades and the casing. With some of those brand name blades costing $15.00 or so a package, the savings will mount up.

BATHROOM:Speaking of razor shaving, saving your old soap bars. When they get too small for using normally, toss them into your shaving mug for lathering soap.

BATHROOM: Bacterial soaps are better than regular soaps. Not true, All soaps clean and anti-bacterial soaps could possibly increase resistant bacteria. The trick for hand washing is to do it at least for 30 seconds.

BATHROOM:Store your toothbrushes to air dry. Placing them in containers will increase the amount of bacterial growth.

CARS: Be careful where you drive. 50% of traffic deaths between 1998 and 2003 were on rural, non-interstate highways, yet these roads only account for 28% of all traffic. Narrow lanes, sharp curves, teenagers, cell phones - need we say more.

CARS: If you fear one of your car's fluids is leaking, throw a clean piece of cardboard underneath it near where you think it may be. Then take the cardboard out and bring it to your mechanic. Tell him where it came out. He'll do the rest.

CARS: You heard it before, but now is one of those times to check your tire pressure. With cold nights hitting, the air in your tire loses volume. The rule of thumb is that for every 10 degrees lower, the pressure in your tire loses 1 to 2 psi. Also the best time to check is in the morning.

EMERGENCIES: Keep a regular old plug phone around. One that doesn't need electricity to work. It uses electricity within the phone lines. So if things get dicey and there is no power and the cell is dead, you can probably use that old phone to keep in contact with the world, assuming you still have a land line.

FAMILY: Looking for a fun cheap way to wrap kids gifts? Try using the Sunday funnies.

FAMILY:Use lifesavers candy to hold candles in place on your next birthday cake! Kids love 'em!

HEALTH: Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with.

HEALTH: Got heartburn? Solution: lose weight. It isn't necessarily the foods you eat but your weight which adds increasing gastrointestinal pressure, contributing to heartburn.

HEALTH: When cold weather is approaching or is on the scene, here is a tip from Germany - drink cocoa. New research from Germany suggests high flavanol cocoa helps blood vessels function better. The study was done in conjunction with exercise and medication, but the statistical improvement was highly significant. The amount consumed was 3 cups a day for 30 days. What this means is simple, improving the blood vessels will enhance cardiovascular health, a major concern for many people including diabetics. (Source: The Week)

HEALTH: Here's a nifty tidbit! There is a very strong correlation between dry winter air and the flu. The drier it is, the more flu viruses like it. Keeping your home humidified lowers flu susceptibility. Either get a humidifier or do what we do, boil some water on the stove every day.

HEALTH: Having trouble falling asleep, try this cozy little tip. Put on a pair of socks. It seems socks will stabilize your core body temperature and aid the falling asleep process. Use a cotton blend pair, regular cotton socks wick away moisture and don’t work as well.

HEALTH: How long should you brush your teeth? 2 minutes, 2 times per day, but not over 3 minutes. This could lead to gum damage, but good dental health is good for your overall health. Same is true for your pets, but I still can't get the pooch to do his own teeth.

HEALTH: Allergies making you miserable, here is a quickie for you. Take a shower before you hit the sack. Any allergens will wash off and make your night time sleep a little more bearable.

HOUSE: Have you every smelled an old microwave? Yuck! To freshen your nuker, combine 1 cup water, the juice of 1/2 lemon and the rind, and 5-6 cloves. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Dump the cup's contents into your compost pile.

HOUSE: You grab some masking tape. You pull on and it comes off in weird little pieces. Toss that baby into the trash, right? Nope, nuke it. Yes, zap the roll of masking tape for between 10 and 20 seconds and it will start working like it is supposed to

HOUSE: Soap Saving Here's another soap saver. Take your old soap bars, place them in a sachet cloth, tie them up and toss them into your seasonal clothing bin or even in a dresser drawer. Your clothes will smell clean and fresh, like a freshly showered body.

HOUSE: Have you heard how shower some curtains give off deadly carcinogens? The hot showers breakdown the plastic. Then we inhale it and make ourselves sick. Reports say this is true so check yours out. If you decide to change your shower curtain, here are two things you can do with it besides adding to the landfill.
1) Use it as a paint tarp or 2) Cover your cord wood with it

HOUSE: Storing Clothes Use empty luggage to store blankets, seasonal clothes, or gift items purchased in advance during sales.

HOUSE: Trash Cans Use a bungee cord to keep your trash cans lids on. The wind won’t blow them off and even better, racoons can’t unclasp them.

HOUSE: Good Site When spring arrives, spring cleaning is not far behind. This normally means getting rid of no longer in use stuff. Instead of filling up a landfill, check out Earth911.org. They have a ton of info about recycling, a search database for local sites and info on hard to get rid of stuff.

KITCHEN: Saving Water When you boil potatoes or pasta, save the water. Use it in soups and stews, or cool it and use it to fertilize your house plants.

KITCHEN: Kneadful Thing Nothing like the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven, but making bread can sure be messy. To take some of the mess away, try this. Knead the dough in a ziploc bag. You can even freeze it in that! No mess, no fuss.

KITCHEN: Fresh Asparagus Keep asparagus longer by cutting off the ends and the storing upright in cool water. Ditto for broccoli.

KITCHEN: Thermos Bottles Cleaning a thermos can be a pain. To do it right you need a small brush which can fit inside. Not many of us have one of those handy. Try this instead. Drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets and let soak for an hour or more. Then rinse. You'll be amazed, and its easy as pie.

KITCHEN: Sponges (non-relative) We've talked about this before, but the best way to clean a sponge is by nuking it or running it through the dishwasher. Both methods will kill 99% of the bacteria, yeast and mold. If you nuke it, be sure there is sufficient water in the sponge or on the dish you use to hold the sponge. there have been times when dry sponges will ignite in a microwave.

MEDICAL: Nukes Microwaves can be used to emergency disinfect clothes, such as a child's cap that another kid has put on, as long as they have absolutely NO metal in the zippers, buttons, rivets etc. ALWAYS place a cup of cold water next to the article to absorb the heat and microwave on high until the water is steaming.

MEDICAL: Suck Got a fever? Suck on a popsicle. It fells good, adds fluids. Great for kids.

MEDICAL: Scars When you are slathering sunscreen on your body, be sure to put a little extra around any scars exposed to the sun. Seems like scar tissue is particularly vulnerable to getting cancerous.

MEDICAL: Burnt Mouth Ever burn your mouth with a pizza? Take a 50-50 solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. Swish it in your mouth, spit it out. The solution will clean dead skin off the burn and accelerate the healing.

MEDICAL MYTH: 98.6 Your temperature is 98.6º. In fact temps range from person to person and from time of day to time of day.

MEDICAL: Kit Here’s something you would not think of as a good medicine kit item - an Exacto knife. It’s good for digging out splinters, cutting bandages and making incisions. Obviously sterilize it before your use it.

MONEY: Saving Some folks think winning Megamillions will be the answer for these tough times. It sure would be nice, but it don't count on it. Count on a frugal lifestyle. One step in that direction is annualizing costs. For example, if you buy a latte every day, you're spending just south of $1500 a year. Ouch! Read THE ABCs of FRUGALITY for more tips. Then winning Megamillions is a simple dream. Oh, if you do win, send me some of that green stuff.

MONEY: Credit Card Look at your credit card bills carefully. American paid $30 billion to credit card companies in fess last year. That is over and above interest, so they are zapping you with late fees, over limit fees and more.

MONEY: Gift Cards Don't buy gift cards on line. Lots of them are used to money launder and they are bogus.

MONEY: Credit Cards Have some extra cash and thinking about investing in stocks or land or whatever. The best investment you can make these days to pay off high interest credit cards. With rates as high as 30% this is a no-brainer.

MOTHER'S DAY May is a good time to consider buying an appliance Why? Because prices are cut for Mother’s Day & Memorial Day. Check out web sites first for the best deals. Then use that info to get a good deal. Consider a slightly damaged or floor model. A ding is a ding especially if you’re frugal. Remember, in this economy, drive a hard bargain!

Check out some Mother's Day gift ideas.

NUTRITION: Fat Coffee Be leery of those ‘frappucino’ coffee fdrinks you find in coffee shops. The Starbucks Venti Mocha Coconut has 710 calories and 26 grams of fat. That’s the equivalent of eating two Quarter Pounders!

NUTRITION: Bio-Availability Cooked carrots have more antioxidants in them than raw carrots. The theory is cooking breaks down the cellular structure and releases all those goodies

NUTRITION: Weight Loss Some basic tips on how to lose weight: 1) stop drinking soda; 2) write everything you eat down; 3) pay attention to portions; 4) erase mistakes with additional exercise.

OFFICE: Junk Mail If you do a fair amount of shipping and you have a paper shredder, consider using your junk mail, shredded, as filler for your shipping.

OUTDOORS: Blue In bug season, don’t wear blue, wear white. Insects are attracted to the dark colors, especially blue.

Cold feet and winter go hand in hand, but did you know that one good pair of wool socks will keep your feet warmer than two pairs of cotton or synthetic fiber socks? 'Tis true.

SAVVY SHOPPER: Car Rentals Are you a car renter? If you are you know it is best to fill the gas tank up before you return it to the agency. These days, some car rental places are charging $8.00 a gallon to fill it up.

SAVVY SHOPPER: Buying Shoes If you're mulling over a new pair of shoes or sneakers, buy them in the middle of the day. Your feet actually enlarge somewhat from morning until evening. You'll get a better fit.

SUPERMARKETS: Use Cash Did you know the average American will spend $32.96 at the grocery store if they use cash. If they opt for credit, the same person will end up spending $43.49. Turns out with credit or debit cards we tend to be freer with the bucks. When it is cash out of pocket, we more frugal. Guess which way we prefer to pay for our groceries?

SUPERMARKETS: Cycles Supermarkets work on a 12 week cycle when it comes to sales. Figure that fact in when you are doing our bulk shopping. Of course, this doesn’t work for seasonal items.

TECH: Laptop Illumination The ubiquitous laptop is a tech marvel. Who would have thought that many of us would be carrying around portable computers?

Did you know that these marvels use 43% of its energy on keeping their screens bright? So if you're looking to conserve your battery, lower brightness. Simple.

TECH: Cell Phone Cameras
Are you a wine aficionado? If forgetting tasty wines is a problem, use your cell phone & photo the label.

Other uses for your cell camera: take photos of a car accident, where you parked your car, a window treatment you liked. It's handy and offers all sorts of uses. Get creative.

PESTS: Mice Mice can be a problem as cold weather starts. If you don’t have a mouser, try and close up as many holes in your foundation as possible. For those big holes, try using steel wool to black them from getting in. After they are in, traps, poison and a good mouser are your choices.

WEDDINGS: Save Money One way of stretching the wedding budget is don't use exotic, out of season flowers. Instead use locally gown, in-season flowers. Heck, if they are in bloom, go pick your own. Listen to our podcast on WEDDING NO-NOs for more ideas on saving money.

WEIRD: Chicken? If you think you’ve found a dinosaur bone, lick it. If it tastes like chicken...., nah. If your tongue sticks to it, it’s a fossil.

WEIRD: Being Chased Crocodiles and alligators are surprisingly fast on land. Although they are rapid, they are not agile; so if you ever find yourself chased by one, run in a zigzag line. You'll lose him or her every time.

WORK: Job Hunting Looking for a job? If so, plan on searching one month for each $10,000 you want to make a year. Using this formula, my ne'er-do-well brother expects to make $1.3 million, and counting, when he finally gets a job.

WORKSHOP: Power Tools Unplug your battery powered tools. The batteries only lose about 10% of their energy a month and re-charge fairly quickly.

WORKSHOP: Paint Turn your paint can upside down. The solvents will head to the top and when your ready to use, it'll be easier to stir.

Got a tip or suggestion? Please share.

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