Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fabulous DIY tips

1. Clever Uses for Milk Jugs won't work for us in our smaller than normal fridge in the RV but sounded good non the less

With 4 kids in the house, we go through A LOT of milk jugs. I feel bad just throwing them away (since they are essentially around forever) and we don’t have a recycling program that will take them. I was thrilled to find this list of 35+ uses for plastic milk jugs . My favorites? The fridge organizer and the “poor man’s blender.” (And for extra fabulous uses for empty containers, see Myscha’s Garbage into Gold article.)

"Organize Your Fridge - Cut the tops off several plastic milk jugs and use the bases to conveniently store grapes, kiwis, pear tomatoes, cheese, lunch meats and other small items in the fridge. Make shorter containers for the storage drawers and trays."

"Poor Man's Blender - Add yogurt, soy milk, fruit juice, nutritional powders, crushed berries or jam to a 1/2 to 1-gallon plastic milk. Replace the lid and shake like crazy. Store extra in the fridge."

2. Save that Extra Rice

Is it just me, or is it impossible to make the perfect amount of rice? I’m always stuck with just enough for one more serving, but the toppings always run out! This tip taken from a reader over at Mary’ Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate Newsletter is the perfect solution (and might help keep my husband fed on those days when I’m not around to cook.)

“I freeze the rice in margarine tubs, which are perfect for one serving. When I want to defrost it, I heat the rice in the microwave for 3 minutes. The rice tastes like I just made it that day, and it saves me time on busy nights. – Jeanne “

3. Learn to Barter

Those who find themselves strapped for cash or too far from a convenient service provider may consider bartering, or a trade of services. If you’re not sure what you could offer in exchange for that car repair, plumbing job, or use of storage space, just ask! Good barters I’ve seen lately include:

  • Use of pasture land for a new fence
  • Painting a house in exchange for a complete wedding photography session and prints
  • One hour of auto mechanic work in exchange for firewood

If you have something you can give, there is something you can get. ( I use Craigslist and local newspapers for my bartering.) Just look under the “Wanted” ads.

I have no problems bartering! did so with a friend of mine for her holiday family photos in exchange we had an awesome thanksgiving get together at her place:0) Like right now we either need a larger engine for the truck so it can haul our larger RV ....OR we need a different truck all together and if someone right now came up and said we need wedding photos but can't really afford...I would give them my all day top package in exhange for a good operating truck that could haul this RV! I am all about bartering and have done it often and in these tight times someone ALWAYS has something someone else needs. I guess I have never really understood the need for "money".

4. Rice and Beans

I have never been a HUGE fan of rice and beans. Growing up they were a means to an end when we were strapped, BUT don't think of rice & beans as a 'sacrifice' at all. I am still overcoming this concept don't worry, but you know from growing up in a family of 7, a mother that stayed home fulltime and a father with health problems my dad taught me the basics to make sure is always on hand for those just in case moments.

And it's amazing how you can introduce so many different cultural influences just by varying the type of rice and/or beans and the inexpensive seasonings used with them.

So switch it up! Go with black beans and add a dash of chili powder & garlic for a more Cuban-style fare. Use (or make) refried beans and add a spoonful (or two) of salsa in the rice and you've gone South of the Border. Use lentils and toss a little curry into the rice and you're doing it up Middle Eastern-style.

Don't forget to try brown rice for extra fiber. You can also add in some wild rice for texture. And there are many, many varieties of beans that you may never have even tried before.

Gravy is cheap and easy....personally I like to use grease left over from bacon or what ever meat, flour, water and if I have it on hand which right now we do, milk. If you make fried chicken it makes the best gravy around! Learn to make your own bread... right now it really isn't cost effective but I have a feeling it is going to become necessary to know how. Buy yeast in bulk keep it refrigerated. Do these things now before you can't. Don't think you have time because you may not. You may walk in tomorrow and be told I am sorry you are laid has happened to several I know. I am grateful every day that my husband works right now...tougher times are coming probably like most of us have never seen before.

5. Share and Share Some More...

Tough times call for tough measures, and sometimes that means giving less. I know that when the non-profits start ringing my house, I don’t have to lie in the least when I tell them, “Sorry, I can’t give to your charity right now. Times are too tight.” But that doesn’t mean that I can’t, or don’t, give. I’m just more selective and use a better system for reasoning how much to give.

For a no-nonsense, deeply inspiring look at how much room we really do have to “give” (even those of use who are feeling the pinch of the economy), read Cheaper By the Half Dozen’s $14 Multiplied By…

thats it for this time I will be back with more tips

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