Instead of Throwing Out Potato Peels, You Can Throw Out Your Money

Written by Frugal Libertarian on November 19, 2008 in: Money Saving Tips |

The newest product from Ore-Ida has to be one of the silliest items in the frozen food section.  The new Steam-n-Mash Potatoes cost $3.83 at my Hy-vee.  What do you get for your money?  You get 24 oz of frozen pre-peeled, pre-cut potatoes.  It still takes 10 minutes to cook them in the microwave and you still have add milk, butter, and then mash them.

For about a dollar you could make the same amount of mashed potatoes using the regular unpeeled variety from your produce section.  But, what about the convenience, isn’t that worth the extra $2.83!  No way!  Paying an extra couple of bucks for every meal just for the sake of convenience could really add up over the course of a year.

Making mashed potatoes the old fashion way would really only add another 15 minutes to the process.  It might take five minutes for peeling and 10 extra minutes to boil.  If you can’t find an extra 15 minutes most evenings than your family may need to rethink some priorities.  Plus, when you really are strapped for time there is always instant mashed potatoes, which are pretty cheap.  I don’t think your children will need therapy because you fed them instant, but if they do, you can always use the money you saved to pay for it.

Throw out the potato peels, not your money.

Perfume is Not Just Expensive, It Causes Divorce Too

Written by Frugal Libertarian on November 12, 2008 in: Money Saving Tips |

I have absolutely no scientific data to back up my hypothesis about perfume.  It is ridiculous enough though that I am sure I could get a grant from the NSF to collect the data and if I fished long enough I could find the evidence needed to support my hypothesis.  But, that is a whole other topic.  Back to perfume.

There have been studies into how people react to other peoples pheromones.  It has been shown that people are attracted to other people based on how they smell even if they are not conscious of it.  Pheromones are subtle.  You may not even realize that you are sensing them.

For example, my family was visiting and I had this weird feeling that something just was not right.  I could not put my finger on it, but something seemed off.  My family was going to the local amusement park that day.  I decided not to go because of that uneasy feeling I had.  I could not shake the idea that something bad was going to happen.  My family was not at the park long when my mother passed out from dehydration and had to be taken to the ER.  I believe that my uneasy feeling probably came from my mother’s change in body chemistry due to the dehydration.  She probably smelled different; I just did not realize it.

So what does this have to do with perfume and divorce?  Let’s say you meet someone that you are very attracted to, fall in love and get married.  The whole time they have been wearing perfume or cologne.  Then they run out of that perfume and stop wearing it.  You wake up and find yourself not attracted to them in any way,  but you can’t quite figure out why.  You start to fight a lot and then get a divorce.  Now if they had not worn perfume in the first place you would never have mistakenly thought you were attracted to them.  You would have married someone else and lived happily ever after.

So save your future marriage and save some money at the same time.  Don’t buy perfume.  And, if you ever have an unexplained uneasy feeling make everyone around you drink a big glass of water.

At Least My Clothes Will be Clean During the Depression

Written by Frugal Libertarian on October 22, 2008 in: Money Saving Tips |

If a depression is really just around the corner, you may want to stock up on some essentials before your dollars are not worth anything. (Is that too gloom and doom, I really am trying to be optimistic.)

Laundry detergent has always been one of those things that I hated buying. I know I have to buy it, but it cost so much and gives me such little satisfaction. It is not like I wash my clothes and think ” wow that was a good time”. I may spend more money on less useful things, like coffee, tea, cookies, or booze, but all those things make me think “wow that was a good time”. I guess that makes laundry detergent kind of like taxes for me.
Anyway, if you are going to stock up on essentials, don’t forget laundry detergent. It is one thing to be poor, but smelly, that is just too sad. To help you decide how best to spend your depreciating dollars, here is my cost per load for different laundry detergents. I am only doing cost per load on powder detergent for now. It is easier to stack, so it makes it more appropriate for hoarding.
This is cost per load based on the price at my local Wal-mart.
Tide: $0.18 per load
Gain: $0.13 per load
Cheer: $0.15
Arm and Hammer: $0.10
Surf: $0.10
Sun: $0.06

Now I have always been skeptical of how much detergent you need per load. Why should I take their word for it? Of course they will tell me to use more then I need. That just means I will have to buy more, so I always use about half of what they tell me, so really my cost per load would be half of what I listed above.

I personally will pay a little extra for quality when times are good. I prefer Charlie’s Soap. If you buy the 5lb bucket it will cost $0.10 a load. And, I actually believe how much they say to use. (Just a tablespoon.) I discovered this when searching for a good detergent for my daughter’s cloth diapers. I don’t mind paying a little extra for the good stuff. Plus, it is so good you don’t need fabric softener, so you save some money there.
A 5lb bucket of Charlie’s Soap will do 1280 loads. That should last 3 years or so. I would buy two. With all the government meddling this is sure to be a long depression. Better have 6 years worth of detergent just to be safe.

Food for a Recession

Written by Frugal Libertarian on October 3, 2008 in: Money Saving Tips |

With the Fed pumping out new money your dollars are going to get you even less at the grocery store.  Here are some of my favorite cheap foods to get you through the coming hyperinflation.

Plantains.  They cost me $.54 a piece at my Wal-mart Super Center.  If they are still green you can boil and then mash them.  If they are starting to turn yellow with some brown spots, they are great fried.  I use olive oil and a little garlic salt and pepper.  One plantain will feed one person.  Just do not eat them raw.

My Rice Stuff.  Yes that is its official name.  I started making this is college because it was cheap.  This will feed two people.  1 and a 1/2 cup rice (brown or white works), 1 lb hamburger (I buy the cheap 75/25 and then rinse it under hot water after I cook it to get rid of the fat) and one large can diced tomatoes.  I usually add some jalapenos but it is not necessary.  I also season will Season Salt and pepper. 

Randall’s Northern White Beans.  I can buy these at Hy-vee for $2.77 for a large jar.  I can feed one person about three meals with one jar.  They are very filling.  Beans in general are cheap and go a long way.  A bag of dried beans is your best deal, but I suck at making good beans.

Texas Ranch Stew.  This one came from my sister-in-law’s mother.  I love it and would eat it even if it wasn’t cheap.  Cheap is just an added bonus.  1 lb ground meat.(Doesn’t matter what kind.  I have used lamb, veal, pork, turkey, and hamburger). 1 can green beans.  1 can beans (I like black beans), 1 large can diced tomatoes, and 1 cup BBQ sauce.

Almost all grocery stores have a section in their meat counter where you can get meat that is almost to its sell by date at a good discount.  To know if it is a good deal or not I always peal back the label to see how much it was before it was marked down.  If I am going to risk food poisoning it should at least be about half its original price.  If you find a good deal buy all that they have.  You can come up with ways to use it later.  Be creative.  Some of my best dishes have been Stuff in the Cabinet and Freezer Stew.

I am always looking for more cheap dishes, so feel free to post them in the comments section.

Debt is Too Expensive! Pay it off!

Written by Frugal Libertarian on October 1, 2008 in: Money Saving Tips |

The best money saving tip I could ever give someone is to pay off your debt.  All of it!  Forget what you hear about good debt vs. bad debt.  There is no such thing as good debt.  There is only bad debt and worse debt.

Debt is bad for you personally, it is bad for the government and it is bad for business.  If you can not look at what is going on in the markets right now and see how bad debt is, then you are in denial.

It is not just expensive in dollars, but it is expensive in choices.  You have very few choices when you have payments.  You are a slave and debt is your owner.

So how do you pay it off?  It takes sacrifice.  There is no way around that.  You will hear advertisments that say “get out of debt without changing your lifesyle”.  That is crap.  It can’t be done.  Your lifestyle got you into the mess, your new lifestyle will have to get you out.

So where do you start?  Stop borrowing money! Today!  You can not get out of the hole you dug until you put down your shovel.

Next get on a budget.  A small one.  Cut everything you don’t need.  Cable, cellphones, eating out, and whatever else is not essential to survival.  Plan your meals carefully to get the most for your money.  About $600.00 a month for a family of four should be plenty.

After that, stop putting money in your retirement for now.  Use that money and any other money you have found in your budget to pay on your debts.  Start with the smallest and work your way up.  If you have money in the bank or non-retirement mutual funds or stock, cash it out.  Leave a couple thousand for emergency and put the rest on debt.

Once everything is paid off but your house, build up 6-12mths worth of living expenses and then start putting 15% away for retirement.

Now you have no payments but the house.  Welcome to the land of the free.  Now you have choices.

But wait.  Stop borrowing money.  How is that possible?  Just don’t do it.  There has to be absolutes in life.  “I will not murder someone in cold blood and I will not borrow money for anything but a house”.  Just make it an absolute for you and your family.  A principle to live by.  Don’t buy it unless you can pay for it that very minute.

“But I need a new car.”  No you don’t.  You may need a car, but you don’t need a new one.  Only buy what you have cash for.  If that is a $500.00 car that only lasts a year, then so be it.

“But I want my kid to have this or that.”  Too bad.  They will survive without it and they will probably be better for it.  You are not doing them any favors by living a life on the edge of insolvency.  Love and support is free.

“But I make more return from my mutual fund than I pay in Interest.”  Really?  Have you looked at your portfolio today.  This one always kills me.  This does not take the risk of having payments into account.  You can not enumerate this risk, so doing the math is impossible.  Instead you should use your gut to do these types of calculations and my gut tells me that without payments I can build wealth quicker with less risk.

We have been sold on debt.  We have been convinced that it helps us.  It is a lie.  Debt costs too much in too many ways.  Pay it off!


Written by Frugal Libertarian on September 29, 2008 in: Money Saving Tips |

If the bailout is giving you heartburn try baking soda as an antacid.  For a $2.99 box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda you get 3,215 doses of antacid.  That should get you through this Fed induced depression.

Cheap Laundry Stain Remover

Written by Frugal Libertarian on September 24, 2008 in: Money Saving Tips |

I have discovered a great laundry stain remover.  It only cost $.99 and it should last forever.  It is called Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar.  I bought mine at Hy-vee in the laundry aisle.  It works great on spit-up stains, but I would definitely follow the directions.  It says to apply the bar to the stain and let it sit for just a couple minutes.  I let it sit overnight and had to wash it twice to get the soap out.  When I only let it sit a couple minutes it worked great.

“It is Expensive to be Poor”

Written by Frugal Libertarian on September 18, 2008 in: In the News, Money Saving Tips |

A friend recently told me that “it is expensive to be poor”. I think that is true in so many ways. Just ask the companies that are too leveraged to take advantage of the situation in the markets. Opportunity is knocking and they can not find the door through their pile of debt. If they had the cash they could be getting some mighty fine deals right now. Just ask Warren Buffet.

Silly Products You Shouldn’t Pay Extra For

Written by Frugal Libertarian on September 15, 2008 in: Money Saving Tips |

Companies are always looking for ways to make their products stand out from the others. Many times these efforts lead to silly products that nobody really needs and they often cost more than the tried and true alternatives. Here are just a couple I have come across lately.

Lysol Deep Reach Toilet Bowl Cleaner. It promises to kill “99.9% of germs in the bowl and mouth trap.” It will clean all the way down into the “S” trap. This product cost $3.45 vs. $2.39 for the regular Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Why would I want to kill the germs in the “S” trap of my toilet. Am I planing on making a large batch of soup in my toilet? It is a toilet. There are germs there. Plain silliness. I wonder if any consumer has come across this in the store and thought, “Wow, I really need this! My “S” trap has germs and I am not going to take it.” Save your $1.06. Or better yet, buy Comet with Bleach for $.99 and call it a day.

Kleenex AntiViral Tissues. It promises to “kill 99% Cold and Flu Viruses in the tissue within 15 minutes.” Why would I need that. I blow snot on it and throw it in the trash. But, wait! With these tissues I could wait 15 minutes and serve a sandwich on it. Double use. I would have to find triple use to make it worth the extra $1.40.

I actually met the Clinical Pathologist while in New Zealand that helped develop this product . He was very proud of his work, so I did not have the heart to tell him that it was plain silliness. (He admitted that in his studies it did little to stop the spread of colds .)

Anyway save even more money by blowing your nose on toilet paper. Again , it is all about cost per sq.ft. and tissues can’t stand up to toilet paper .

Sharpie brand Super Permanent Marker. So the permanent marker you sold me before wasn’t really permanent, but this one really is for sure. How can you get more permanent than permanent. I can’t believe I have been getting ripped off all these years buying permanent markers that were not really permanent. I want my money back.

These products are just like our government. They try to make it sound like you just can’t live without it, but in the end it does little to make life easier and it cost way to much.

You Use it Everyday, But Do You Know How Much it is Costing You

Written by Frugal Libertarian on September 13, 2008 in: Money Saving Tips |

I hate buying toilet paper.  I know I have to, but it just cost so much for what it is.  Why does it cost so much?  Because it can.  I wish I could come up with a product that everyone used every single day.

Anyway, I like to get the most paper for my money.  With Big Rolls, Double Rolls, and Mega Rolls, it can be difficult to decide which brand and size has the best price.  The best way to ensure the best deal is to compare cost per square feet. 

I have saved you the time of standing in the toilet paper aisle with your calculator.  Here is a rundown of the cost per square foot for the major brands sold at Walmart.  I did my calculations on the package of each brand that had the most square feet in it.  Sometimes this was a Mega Roll, sometimes it was a Double Roll.  Either way you always get the most for your money by buying the package with the most square feet.

Charmin Ultra Strong $.025 per sq.ft.

Charmin Basic  $.013 per sq.ft.

Cottonelle $.021 per sq.ft.

White Cloud $.013 per sq.ft.

Quilted Northern $.014 per sq.ft.

Scott Extra Soft $.012 per sq.ft.

Scott Regular $.006 per sq.ft

Angel Soft $.011 per sq.ft.

Cleary Scott Regular is the best value.  It might not be soft enough for some, but it does its job. 

It is always a good idea to check  Sometimes they get a lot of something like toilet paper and they will have a good price.  Usually stock is limited so you have to act fast.  I have found Charmin Ultra Strong for as low as $.004 per sq.ft. on Amazon.  They also sell Scott Regular 40 rolls at a time, but it cost $.007 per sq.ft. , which is more than my local Walmart.  If you live in a higher price area like the east or west coast this may be a good deal.

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