Craving? A Frugal Substitute is Healthier

I love chocolate Éclairs, although in Iowa we call them “Creme Filled Long Johns”. The melding of the chocolate, butter and sugar flavors just make me happy.

I know my size would triple if I had them for breakfast every day. So, I devised a frugal substitute. I make homemade waffles, cover it with butter, drizzle it with chocolate syrup and sprinkle on powdered sugar. I get the flavors without the calories. Sometimes I sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the waffle and let them soften.  I was given a recipe for “Chocolate Waffles” but it looked like a “cow pie”, so I never made them again.

Chocolate Éclair Waffles


When I crave candy, I mix up a batch of “Chocolate Malto Meal”. I add a tablespoon of butter and I have the flavors of a Peanut Butter Cup. If I add peanuts and drizzle it with caramel I have the flavors of a Snickers. Adding a tablespoon of cocoa gives you the flavor of dark chocolate,…ooh, with almonds!

When I make oatmeal I add raisins and brown sugar. It tastes like a bowl of Oatmeal-Raisin cookies, but with fewer calories. I love adding fruit to my oatmeal, too.

That is making me hungry. It is 5:51 a.m. and I am off to make breakfast!


My Favorite Quote

“It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep!”

If you make six figures and are in debt twice that amount, I sure wouldn’t want to trade places with you!

Cube Your Heels

Today I started cubing my heels.

What is that you ask?

That is cutting the heels from your bread loaf into cubes and saving them in the freezer. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around I will have enough to make dressing or stuffing. I use both wheat and white bread and found the variety adds to the flavor.

What do I do with the heels the rest of the year?

I put mayonnaise on the outside and use them in sandwiches. If you turn the crust side in, on your sandwich, you won’t notice that it is a heel.


Is It a Frugal Fix, or Am I Just Being a Redneck?

I confess I must have redneck blood. When something breaks down, my first impulse is to reach for the duct tape.  I want to fix it without spending money.

As an example, last weekend the van wouldn’t start. David wanted to call a mechanic and I handed him a bottle of Coke. I told him to pour it on the battery terminals.

He ignored me and drank the coke.

We compromised. I had just talked to our oldest son, who inherited my father’s mechanical abilities, and knew he would be driving for an hour so he could talk. My husband called him back and told him what the van was doing and everything he had already tried.

After talking, he went back to the van, took both battery terminals off and cleaned them with a wire brush. The van started right up. (The coke would have worked faster.)

Anyway,  I constantly struggle with my redneck tendencies because they are not frugal!

I have made the most redneck mistakes on my dishwasher.

My first mistake was to spend $100.00 to build my portable dishwasher into my kitchen. What I failed to take into consideration was the age of the dishwasher. Shortly after that, the baskets deteriorated so much that it ruined my silverware with rust spots.

I went to, and made my second redneck mistake. I ordered new baskets, but the cost was over half of the amount of a new dishwasher.  If I had only needed one basket it would have been worth the expense.

Even worse was the “redneck” fix I had tried on the old baskets. I set them on my wooden kitchen table and ended up scratching it. I thought I would pour rust remover over the rusted out ends. I placed the basket over my new stainless steel sink and the rust remover permanently spotted the sink.

The new baskets were installed and I thought everything was good, when the pump started to leak. I did the only frugal fix that I am proud of – I took a plastic turkey platter and slid it under the dishwasher.  Everyday I unload the dishwasher and dump the water out of the plastic tray.

I am protecting the floor as I wait to replace the dishwasher. I actually have a  dishwasher lined up, but we will have to build a cabinet for it, so I am patiently waiting for my husband to work out all of the details.

Mary Hunt at Debt Proof Living, recently wrote about planning for appliance replacement. Please go read her article.

I wish I would have listened to her. I should have replaced the dishwasher in 2007 instead of building it in during my kitchen remodel.

I guess I might be a redneck.


My dishwasher with its turkey platter drip pan.

Frugality is Not Equivalent to Miserly

Frugal people are the most generous people I know.

My first encounter with a frugal family was after I married. Shortly before the wedding, my then fiance’ was laid off and money was tight. Between the two of us we worked 10 part-time jobs.

I will never forget our first weekly budget: Rent – $40.00, Food- $10.00, Gas – $7.00. We didn’t eat much and the only place we drove was to work, the grocery store once a week and church.

One day after church we came out and found a ten-dollar bill stuck under our windshield wiper.  It didn’t take long to find out who our benefactor was and it was very humbling. This family was in the same boat we were in and they had two small children.  But I never will forget the joy on that man’s face when he said he was so glad he was able to bless us.

Recently, I shared with you about replacing the motor on our air conditioner. I waited for the bill with fear and trembling. I had less than half of the estimate in my maintenance account, but the motor he actually installed was smaller than the motor he gave in the estimate.

I saw him at church and felt guilty for not telling him I had not received a bill. So last Monday I called him and left a message. Yesterday, at church, my husband asked him for a bill.

He grinned and said, “It has been paid in full!”

What a blessing!

I decided to accept this “Random Act of Kindness” graciously. I will not turn into a detective and try to figure out who it was and I will say “THANK YOU” here. I also intend to look for opportunities to do the same for someone else.

Their “Random Act of Kindness” actually supplied two needs. Not only did they cover the bill for the motor, that amount in the maintenance fund will cover the increase of our property taxes that is due by Friday.

This is my fourth year of not earning a wage. I stepped down from my job due to my health. ( I worked for a (501(c)(3)) organization and did not even receive unemployment.)  God has provided for us over and over. I found I have to take each time my husband’s income is reduced as a challenge. Each time there is a bill that is larger than expected, I have to trust God to provide the funds, one bill at a time.

While I am facing my challenges, I am also deriving great joy from giving to others. There is actually a category in our budget for charity. As I have been blessed today, I will turn around and bless someone else. It may be as simple as getting a box out and looking for items to donate to Good Will.

 I know from experience it is better to give than to receive!

Mr. Frugalfish Buys a Sun Tea Jar

Our new sun tea jar making green tea.

We have always enjoyed sun tea in the summer. Unfortunately, the “Sun Tea Jars” we purchased were prone to leak and could not be washed in the dishwasher.

We never dispensed the tea from the spigot, but poured it into a pitcher. When our jar started leaking all over last summer, my husband picked up a new one for $5.00.

It leaked the first time we used it. He returned it. Instead he bought this storage canister for $4.00. He saved a buck, it will never leak and it is dishwasher safe. I couldn’t be prouder!



Sun Tea

Fill container with water.

Add desired amount of sweetener.

Put three tea bags in the top and shut the lid.

Set in the sun for a couple of hours.

The heat from the sun dissolves the sugar.

Shake or stir.

Add ice.

(Raspberry tea  – use two black tea bags and one raspberry tea bag.)

(Peach Tea – put syrup from can of peaches in with the water.)