Resume Paper Rip-Off

This is week 8 of unemployment.

My husband was looking for ways to stand out in the pile of applicants. He decided to buy heavier paper…resume paper, on which to print his resume. We live in a small town and the only place to get it was Wal-Mart.

I picked up a package of white, 24 lb “resume paper” that cost $8.97 for 100 sheets. My husband said, “No.” He didn’t think it was worth the money.

I started to walk out of the aisle and noticed various reams of paper. There was a ream of white, 24 lb paper for $5.97. That was five times the number of sheets for a little over half price.

It didn’t have a “watermark,” but he managed a lumberyard not a publishing company. It is still heavier and will stand out. We bought it. Sometimes, all you are paying for is a fancy package.

Same paper...different packages.

Same paper…different packages.

 

Bump the Brillo Pad

I used Brillo Pads for years to scrub my pans. They worked better than any other scrubber, but:

  1. They rusted.
  2. Little pieces broke off of them and could pierce your skin.
  3. They didn’t last long.
  4. They were expensive.

I found a frugal alternative..steel wool. That wad of steel wool never rusts and it lasts for a few years. It is just as strong scraping off burned food and much cheaper.

Steel Wool instead of Brillo Pads.

Steel Wool instead of Brillo Pads.

Caramel Apple Oatmeal

Many I talk to agree the quickest way to increase cash flow is to stop eating out. I have found that to be true and I have many posts about different, inexpensive dishes.

I like to be creative at breakfast and have shared many different ways to serve Malto Meal. Today I want to share how I made my oatmeal last week.

Caramel Apple Oatmeal

3 Cups Water

1-1/3 Cups Oatmeal

1 Apple, Diced

Caramel Ice Cream Topping Syrup

Bring water to a boil. Cook the apple with the oatmeal for five minutes. To serve, sweeten with caramel syrup. Makes 4 servings.

Caramel Apple Oatmeal.

Caramel Apple Oatmeal.

Can’t Eat Just One Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

I love telling the story of my husband and my sister making chocolate chip cookies. She was spending the weekend with me…and it was rather late…but I didn’t think he could ever top this story.

When they made the cookies, they put in two 1/2 cup measuring cups of flour in the batter instead of two and a half cups of flour! Then they wondered why the cookies were running all over my oven!

Last week my husband decided to make cookies because we had friends coming over. He had just started when I came in the kitchen and told him I bought the chocolate chip cookies to make fudge for him on Valentine’s Day.

He decided to go ahead and make the cookies because one of our friends likes them without chocolate chips.

I returned to the office, and a few minutes later, I heard him exclaim, “Oh, no! I’ve ruined them.”

Instead of putting in 2 tablespoons of water…he had added 2 cups!

I refuse to waste good food and it looked like cake batter to me. We decided to bake them in a 9″ x 13″ pan. He watched the “cake” closely and removed it from the oven after 25 minutes.

He frosted it with Betty Crocker’s “Quick Fudge Frosting.”

I could not believe how good this cake was! We ate two pieces before our friends ever arrived. Each of them ate 2 pieces.

Have you ever eaten just one chocolate chip cookie? Well it is the same with this cake.

“Can’t Eat Just One Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake”

2/3 Cup Butter, Melted

2 Cups Lightly Packed Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

2 Cups Hot Water

2-2/3 Cups Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1-12 ounce package chocolate chips, (optional)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Combine melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and hot water; mix well. Stir in remaining dry ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Betty Crocker’s Quick Fudge Frosting

1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

2 Tablespoons Cocoa

2 Tablespoons Butter

1/4 Cup Milk

1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup

Dash of Salt

1/2 to 3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

Mix granulated sugar and cocoa in saucepan. Stir in butter, milk, corn syrup and salt; heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Boil vigorously, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes; cool. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.

When he wasn’t looking, I took a picture of the cake. It was great even without the chocolate chips!

"Can't Eat Just One Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

“Can’t Eat Just One Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

 

 

Valentine’s Day Ideas

Losing heart over what to do for Valentine’s Day?

Does it have to be:

  • Diamonds? No!
  • Reservations at the most expensive place in town? No!
  • A flight to Paris? No!
  • A dozen red roses? No!
  • 25 lb. box of chocolates? No!
  • A night in a ritzy hotel? No!

The most treasured gifts are gifts from the heart:

  1. Recreate your first date.
  2. Write a love letter.
  3. Make a list of all of the things you love about them.

If you would rather cook, here a few ideas from us:

“Make Your Valentine Homemade Chocolates,” see http://wp.me/pKNzn-8P
“A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine, and Thou,” see http://wp.me/pKNzn-8S “Everyday Cocoa Brownies,” see http://wp.me/pKNzn-90

You don’t even have to spend money on decorations!

“No-Sew Valentine’s Day Table Runner,” see http://wp.me/pKNzn-uX

Everyone understands a message from the heart.

My Valentine's Day table runner.

My Valentine’s Day table runner.

 

 

Can’t Recycle Forever

It was when I was decorating for Valentine’s Day that I found this to be true. I wanted to use the colors pink and white…only most of my decorations were red! I dug through my candles and even my snowmen decorations.

I finally settled on a vignette for the kitchen table using several small items on a white platter. I decided to use rock salt as “snow” to keep the items from sliding around when the platter had to be moved.

My Valentine's Centerpiece for 2015.

My Valentine’s Centerpiece for 2015.

The trouble started when I got out the “snow.” I went to set it on the table and the side split!

The box of rock salt I use as decorative snow.

The box of rock salt I use as decorative snow.

I am not sure how old the rock salt is because I have used it several times as snow. One year, I placed candles inside cobalt colored vases and used the rock salt to hold them in place.

One Christmas I sprinkled rock salt around my centerpiece to add a little more sparkle to my table.

Unfortunately, it was stored with the ice cream maker in the basement. I planned on using it every year, but never got around to making ice cream.

The box just couldn’t hold up to the humidity.

Recycling is important…but can’t be done forever.

 

Pass It On

We attended a “western” themed banquet Saturday night. Since I did not have “western” clothes in my closet and I headed to Goodwill.

I found a wool fringed jacket and some “Lawman” brand jeans…but neither one would zip shut! I considered getting them anyway because they were so cheap, but remembered we would be having a nice meal, and I left them there. (Never buy clothes because they are cheap.)

Then I did what I should have done in the first place…called my sister. Of course, she had a leather fringed jacket and a cowboy hat that she was happy to loan me.

She also sent me a box of various spices. She buys her spices at “The Dutchman’s Store,” which is run by Amish. They grow and package their own spices and produce.

My sister filled her spice jars and sent the excess to me. I don’t keep many spices on hand because I store them in the freezer, see “The Spice of Life,” http://wp.me/pKNzn-Aj.

I decided to do the same thing. I filled my containers and threw the rest back in the box to give to my sister-in-law.

Hoarding is not frugal. Keep what you need and pass the rest on.

CIMG2802

Facing My Giants

Sunday we had a winter storm and church was canceled. I had a free morning!

I started my day as usual, by reading my Bible. I read the account of David killing Goliath and decided it was time to face my giant.

I’ve been hiding out from this giant for a month and it just wasn’t going away. It was adjusting our family spending plan to fit our “new” income of…unemployment, see “My Husband Lost His Job, http://wp.me/pKNzn-DT.

I had the percentages of my spending plan memorized: Give 10%, Save 10%, Housing 30%, Food 12%, Auto 15%, and split the rest fairly evenly. (We have to allocate more to medical expenses than the average family.)

In the time it took my husband to clear our drive, and the neighbors drive, I had adjusted the numbers. Since he has been the one paying bills, I went over the figures with him when he came inside. We had to raise some numbers and trim others, but in less than an hour, we had a plan.

I should have done it last week when I learned the amount of our new health insurance premium, but I procrastinated.

Today, I faced another giant…goals for this blog. It is also something I have been avoiding! But I started taking “Blogging 201″ and that was today’s assignment. For bonus points, we were to write a post and list our goals.

2015 Goals for frugalfish.com

1. Gain 20% more followers by March 31st.

2. Increase daily hits 30% by end of 2015.

3. Gain 6 new twitter followers by May 30th.

I recorded the goals on my editorial calendar and will report my progress.

I encourage you to face your “giants.” It won’t take as long as you think and will not be as painful as you expect.

A blank piece of paper to write my 2015 goals on.

A blank piece of paper on which to write my 2015 goals.

Keep Temporary Fixes Temporary

Mom stopped by and noticed the hooks holding up my invisible chair were loose, see http://wp.me/pKNzn-tj. She told me to break the end off of a match and put the broken matchstick in the hole.

When I screwed the hook back in, the matchstick made the hole smaller and gave the hook something to grip.

She said “You can fix a lot of things with match sticks and duct tape!”

Using her ingenuity, I repaired Derek’s work shoes with electrician’s tape. (The tape is black and was not as obvious as duct tape would have been.)

More importantly, I ordered a replacement pair the same day.

It is easy to forget something needs replaced when the temporary fix works just fine. But the temporary fix will fail at some point and it will not be a convenient time!

Temporary fixes are not permanent.

That reminds me…I need to put a new anchor in that hook holding up the invisible chair!

Black electrician's tape temporarily fixed work shoes until the new ones came in.

Black electrician’s tape temporarily fixed work shoes until the new ones came in.

 

Don’t Tell My Husband, Another Use for Mustache Trimmer

I actually had permission to use it, but not in this way.

I admitted to my husband that I got tired of plucking the fine, thin hairs between my eyebrows and I wanted to borrow his mustache trimmer to remove them. (Eventually, even fine, thin hair thickens and turns dark.)

He said, “Okay.”

But I found another use for it!

My winter coat, see http://wp.me/pKNzn-nG, is white and washable. It didn’t survive the holidays without a spot, or two, and I decided it was time to wash it.

I was disappointed when I took it out of the washer and noticed black pills along the edge of the sleeves. It made the coat still look dirty. I borrowed David’s mustache trimmer, again, and trimmed those little pills off. The trimmer is safer to use than a regular razor blade.

The little, black pills were trimmed off of the sleeve on the left. They are still visible on the sleeve on the right.

The little, black pills were trimmed off of the sleeve on the left. They are still visible on the sleeve on the right.