Being Thrifty

When I first came to WV B. introduced me to some of his friends and their wives then included me in some of their luncheon dates.  Walking around Wheeling after one of those lunches there were conversations of thrifting among the ladies.   One looked at me and asked, do you thrift?  “Huh?  Well, what’s that?”  I honestly had no idea.  I’ve learned since then of the fun of thrifting and much more.  Somewhere along that road in thrifting I also learned how to be more thrifty in my consumables and have never looked back.  Now I admit there has been lots of learning through my sifting through recipes and idea’s leading to lots of “duh’s”  NO, adding cocoa powder to your lotion is NOT a good alternative to self tanning lotion, white white skin in January is normal and ok, just learn to love it. (Mom, really?  Some people will believe and try anything!! I can’t believe you fell for/ tried that)  Go figure, but I’ve always been the gullible type.  Sifting through to find those valuable nuggets of savings and satisfaction of doing it/making it/restoring it myself has been a process of trial and error. One thing I’ve learned, is to check the motives behind the idea’s or tips that folks share.  Some don’t necessarily care too much about the effectiveness of what they’re promoting as long as it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals while others only care about the cost as opposed to effectiveness or safety. Some are just learning and sharing how to be more self sufficient.  I guess I’m somewhere in the middle of  (chemical) safety but I always want to be on the high end of effectiveness and savings or I figure why bother?   And I think its good to be open to learning more to work towards more self sufficiency.

So back to my thrift store experiences for a minute.  This sewing cabinet and machine was our first thrift find.  I was more interested in turning the dark scratched wood into a desk then I cared about the machine figuring it probably wouldn’t work properly.  B. took the machine out and I sanded and painted the cabinet and made new draw pulls for it.  B. then took the machine to the local old timer sewing machine guy and had him look it over, fix anything that needed fixing and oil it.  He dropped it back in and said try it.  LOL, it took me nearly 3 years to get up the nerve to do so. Old machines are intimidating to casual sewers like me and I didn’t realize until my first go at it what a gem it truly is.  I’ve since had a total turn around in my feelings toward this purchase.  It’s the machine that I love so much now and the cabinet is just the keeper of my beloved machine.  I’ve probably used it more then the original owner  who according to the paper work we found in it, won it at a county fair 8-19-61.

Bruce and I have since become restorers of many things old and sturdy and have had a lot of fun learning new things about old things along the way.  Thrifting, making things that I’ve normally purchased without a thought and putting food by (an old term for storing food-all ways)  have slowly become a way of life for us. We choose things that work for us and our schedules and needs with no hard and fast rules.

I saw talk here of laundry soap the other day.   I used to be a die hard, loyal user of only Tide with bleach alternative.  And then there came a day when I saw a recipe for laundry soap shorty after we had just bought a bottle for near twenty dollars.  I was so picky about my laundry soap, I could barely fathom that a home made soap would get the job done to my liking.  I was wrong and the savings is substantial enough that even with providing equal amounts of laundry soap for my daughter as us, we’re still way ahead.  The recipe I used for many years that takes a little more effort has now been replaced (mostly) with a new easier one.  I made two changes to this recipe, one is that I now use Wal Marts huge bottle of Dawn Blue alternative instead of Dawn Blue and the other is to add the hot soap mixture to the gallon bottle already mostly filled with cold water because of the suds factor and how long it takes to fill waiting for the suds to disappear.  Also, because Borax and Washing Soda can sometimes clump in the box I’ve decided to heat the soap mixture on the stove in a pan to get rid of the clumps better.    This recipe is so easy anyone can do it!  I use empty vinegar bottles but old laundry bottles, juice bottles, heck even empty milk jugs will do. Try it, you might like it!

So Duckie asked me to do a thread about food and this is what I came up with 🧐  this is not so foody but let me add some food for this last bit here in a thrifty way.  Have you ever had fruit go mushy on you faster then you could eat it?  If so, don’t toss it!  Cut any bad parts off , cut it up and add it to a sturdy (not thin aluminum, stainless is best)  pot, cook and stir on medium heat. Many jam recipes anymore leave the skins on as a source for pectin (a thickener that I don’t use now, I’d rather cook it down which brings out a bolder fruit flavor)   You can add sugar, a little or a lot, or other sweeteners, add lime or lemon zest and the juice (another pectin source), cook it down to your liking, maybe take your immersion blender to smooth it more,  put it in a jar and freeze or put in the fridge to use immediately.  You ‘d be surprised at even the small amount of fruit it takes to make a little treat for your toast, biscuits, pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt or ice cream!

Walt mentioned one time about putting his flour, sugar, and rice in the freezer to kill any eggs or bugs that might be in them to preserve them longer, I loved that tip and do it regularly now!  Share a tip on anything and this is an open thread, Happy Saturday friends!

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