Friday, 3 February 2012

Frugal Friday

Good evening everyone!
A whole week of our blog has gone past now! I am so surprised at how easy it has been to think of posts to write! We hope you are enjoying what you read here, and maybe finding the odd scrap of inspiration or encouragement along the way.
Today it is Frugal Friday again and once more we are in the kitchen (after all, isn't that where we wives seem to linger, more than anywhere else in our homes? I know I do! I love my kitchen. It's tiny, but cosy and welcoming, and I have the most beautiful view out my kitchen window, of the park near by, which has huge cedar, pine and oak trees all around. I love to stand at the sink and gaze at the sunrise or sunset, out my window, as I do my washing up).
Talking of washing up, this frugal hint is possibly one of the best that I've found yet! I am always amazed, when I think of it, that something so simple, can make such a saving. But it does! When you wash up, instead of squeezing your washing up liquid into the washing up bowl, simply upend it, and let the liquid run slowly out of its own accord into the bowl. You will be astonished at how much longer your bottle of washing up liquid lasts! I use to buy a bottle perhaps once a month. Now it is more like every 10 weeks.
I wash up everything by hand - we don't have a dishwasher. I am not sure that this saves very much money, but I do truely think that for a small family like our's, a dishwasher really is a luxury that we don't need. The same can be said for a tumble dryer. Obviously, if you have been blessed with a very large family, I don't suppose that managing without a dishwasher or tumble dryer is a very realistic aspiration, even despite the financial benefits that you will gain (a tumble dryer is probably the most expensive kitchen appliance to run) but for our small family of 4, a tumble dryer really isn't necessary. I can easily get all our laundry dry, year round, for free, by hanging it indoors in winter and outdoors (on a line across our balcony, for we have no garden) in the summer. It saves on ironing too if you hang it outside - and makes it smell beautiful too! Indoors, I only hang our laundry to dry upstairs, to ensure it doesn't pick up any cooking odours. I do approximately 2 - 3 loads of laundry a day.
Another kitchen saving that I will share today is also a simple one. Canned mushrooms might not sound like a very exciting addition to your food cupboard, but I have found that one small product really does help me to stretch our meals. They are very inexpensive, keep far better than fresh mushrooms, and need no preparation. I add a can to every casserole, soup or stew I make, and really, when the mushrooms are cooked with other ingredients, especially meat, you do not honestly notice that they are there, but they really do extend a small amount of meat to make it go further. I rarely ever buy fresh mushrooms now. If like me you have mushroom haters in your family, you can try doing as I do and cut them up into tiny pieces so they won't be noticed (they are much easier to cut into pieces, if you use a pair of kitchen scissors instead of a knife. This is a great way to cut up soft fruit too, if you have small children to prepare snacks for. Less mess too, because you can snip directly into the bowl!).
Pulses are another great meal extender. I usually cook my own, presoaking them overnight and then simmering them (after an initial 15 minute boil) on the stove top for an hour or more. It may seem less cost effective to do this than to buy a few cans of pulses, but you can cook a large portion of pulses all at once, and then freeze several portions to use later. I like to add pulses, as with mushrooms, to casseroles and stews, and they also contribute useful nutrients and fibre to your meal too.
Finally, if you like to use fabric conditioner (we do - it does make your garments feel softer and smell really delicious), when you get to the end of the bottle, why not do what I do, and add a little water to it, give it a good shake, and then use to put on your duster as you do your housework? It will make your rooms smell beautiful!
OK that's all for this week's Frugal Friday.