Tag Archives: frugal living

The Graywater Experiment

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This is not a new novel by David Baldacci and has nothing to do with spies or espionage. It’s not a government initiative (but maybe it should be) or a soviet plot or a secret mission.

It’s harvest time in the garden and my main method of food preservation is blanching and freezing. Basically this involves a pot of boiling hot water on the stove to boil veggies for 3-5 minutes and then a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching preserves color and flavor and readies food for freezer bags.

It occurred to me last week as I was processing vegetables that the water for washing and blanching could be reused to water my garden. We’ve only received one good drenching rain here and I can almost predict we’ll be in a drought situation before long.

During my last blanching session I bottled up my graywater and took it down to the garden and watered my plants. I also used graywater in a small flowerbed I have at the side of the house.

You can find our more about graywater at http://graywater.net. It seems such a reasonable alternative to using drinking water on lawns and gardens.

I’ve always been a resourceful gal though sometimes I think Boyfriend thinks I have a screw loose. He looked balefully at my graywater before I took it to the garden and I know he  questions the validity of my constant recycling, purchasing at thrift marts and composting efforts. Mercifully, he rarely SAYS what I know he’s thinking.

We should all try to be more resourceful. With oil spilling into the gulf at breakneck speed, water may become all too scarce in the future.  What affects one part of the planet, affects another.

Consider your graywater and make it work for you and the planet.

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The Frugal Musician’s Ebay experiment

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My dad is quite the “collector”. And that, in the words of Forest Gump is “and that is all I haveto say about that”.

 When someone passes, my dad is usually called in to remove what is left after relatives claim items. While much ends up at the dump, too much ends up in my mom and dad’s house. My recent trip home revealed a big box of  “collectibles” removed from the home of a deceased lady. After a bit of cajoling, I convinced dad to allow me to bring the box home (to remove it mostly from my mom’s sight!) and sell the items on ebay.

I went through the box and found several items to sell including this new, never used set of Kohl’s Summer Living Flamingo party ware. The bowl and platter are huge and both items still have their $24.99 and $29.99 respectively price tags.  I listed the set on ebay for $30.00.  I also found an American Atelier Flamingo Pitcher and a set of matching salt and pepper shakers.

Reselling items like this help me help my mom and dad who are retired and living on a fixed income. They both do odd jobs to make ends meet, but it’s nice to be able to help a little bit from time to time and my proceeds from ebay sales go directly to their bank account.

I listed the Kohl’s items on ebay and hope to sell them both for $30.00.  I also listed the American Atelier pieces for $25.00. So if you know anyone who is into Flamingos……

The Frugal Musician’s new walking shoes

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My local Junior League Clothes Rack was having a half off sale today. I love these sales. They only happened occassionally in the past, but it seems since the economy tanked, the JL has a half off sale once a month.

I snapped up these snazzy NEW Dr Scholls walking shoes for a cool $2.50. They came with the Air Pillo Gel insoles and feature a gel ball imbeded in the bottom heel of each shoe for extra comfort.

I walk Mr Kronk every night and lately my heels had been giving me some discomfort, so I was extra excited to find these babies!

Have you ever walked into a thrift mart and found exactly what you were looking for at a deep discount? Isn’t it FUN?!

The Frugal Musician adds it up

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blog photos 061The Frugal Musician believes in calendars, notebooks and record keeping in a big way. Record keeping is often very revealing.

In June, I decided to keep tabs on my market spending. I’d started subscribing to the Sunday Richmond Times Dispatch specifically for the coupons. I found when I clipped and couponed according to the sale circulars, I started doing a good job of saving.

My June tally was revealing:

Total spent on groceries including toiletries: $184.14

Coupon savings: $99.39

Free Stuff: $16.27 (Free food at Cap D’s, Victoria’s Secret, free SoyJoy, free breadsticks at Little Caesars,free italian bread at my local market)

Extra Side Hustle income: $35.00 (Neighborhood Yard Sale and Garden Sale)

Bearing in mind that Boyfriend and I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert nightly, and snacks here at home, I guess $184.14 was not so bad.

But for July I’m on a mission. Spend $100 on food (not including toiletries).

Wish me luck!

The Frugal Musician is a scrapper…

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DC 094I’m a scrapper. And I don’t mean a girl who likes to pick fights.

I like material scraps and use them to make bags for stones, gems or runes. I make 3×6 drawstrings type bags as a creative meditative art.

Craigslist.org had a listing for quilters scraps for free. After speaking with the poster, she assured me these scraps were very nice and they were quite large. The hitch was she lived in Chesterfield, which was not exactly close.

I had a meeting across town yesterday and it just so happened boyfriend had seen a boat in Chesterfieldfor nearly nothing on craigslist.org, so we mapquested our errands and bundled our tasks and headed out. My meeting went great (new work!), and the scraps were mostly gorgeous pieces of silk in the most beautiful colors, and the boat – well, the boat was pretty much a disaster that would have taken a lot of money to renovate.

I cannot wait to get into my big bag of scraps and have fun sewing bags. A bag of material is just as soothing and comforting to me as a therapy session must be to some folks.  There’s something about cutting and whip stitching and coming up with creative cords for ties and cool beads or tokens to finish off my bags that speaks to my artist’s soul.

Do you have a simple craft that speaks to your soul and gives you calmness and serenity? I’d love to know about it!

The Frugal Musician wonders about rebates…

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swing and calla lilliesIt’s summer and in the summer the frugal musician often finds herself sitting and musing over this and that when it’s simply too hot to move…

Sometimes I muse in this awesome swing in our garden…

Once upon a time, I rebated A LOT. I combined coupons and bought products with rebates. I kept everything in a shoebox and that little shoebox made me a nice chunck of cash every year. It was my Happy Santa money.

I subscribed to the Sunday paper for coupons a few months ago. But I’ve noticed very few rebate opportunities. I confess I haven’t used rebates since the kids were little (they’re 30 and 22 now) but thought it may be something to consider as a side hustle.

Are there sites for rebates? I did have a bad experience with Centrum vitamins. Just got a letter from them saying my rebate didn’t have the UPC box codes and I most certainly DID mail them in the envelope with the rebate form. I carefully considered COPYING the form and the UPC box codes before mailing but never got it done. This is irritating because it was a $10 rebate.

I think it’ll be a futile fight to try and shake $10 out of them, but I will NOT buy Centrum vitamins again. So there…

The Frugal Musician is going to attempt a yard sale

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KRONK IN BED 004

See the brown drooppy sad eyes? See how Mr Kronk is hiding under the covers? This photo says a lot about how I feel about yard sales…..

I’ve never ever had a successful yard sale. Despite much work gathering items, making sure they’re clean, pricing and advertising, yard sales have never been good to me. I usually end up giving a bunch of stuff away and then take the rest to The Clothes Rack (Junior League Thrift store) and then beat myself up over having wasted so much time, effort and energy to make $10.00

A flyer was in the mailbox last week and the neighborhood is planning a yard sale to be held in Mr Lundie’s field right up the street. I really do want to try and sell some things. I usually even have a box of freebies.

Do any of you have suggestions or tips for a successful foray at this? I’ve done the usual; packaged my items in baskets, made pricing clear, made sure everything was displayed nicely, to no avail.

Any advice certainly would be appreciated! I don’t want to have to hide in shame with the covers pulled over my head after making a whopping $10 bucks.

BTW- Mr Kronk was feeling just fine in this photo, despite his appearance. It was cold when the pic was taken and he likes to crawl in the bed with his nose tucked just under the covers…