I Get By. Or Poverty 101. Introduction

Well, the election is over and we as a nation are headed for the poor house. We all need to pitch in and share whatever hints we have for living frugally. Having been poor and poorer, I have never lost the lessons I learned. And have been open to learning new ones along the way.

There are many strategies for stretching the few rubles pennies we have left. Some of us are fortunate enough to have had Depression Era lessons instilled by our parents and grandparents. The old becomes new!

Waste Not, Want Not.

That one expression goes a long way. We live in an era of built in obsolescence – and marketing that tempts all to have the newest, the latest, the best! (I am semi immune as I loathe shopping lol.) I also grew up with hand me downs and hand made by my Mom. There was no ย shame attached back then-everyone’s closet or bureau had items from older sisters, brothers and cousins. Of course, clothing back then was good quality and made to last lol.

There are many many ways to save, to scrimp, to stretch and I will try to cover as many as I can think of as they come to me. Winter is upon us, so will cover my strategies for keeping utility bills down in the next post. And of course will cover eating on a budget and the recipes for stretching food dollars.

What expressions or sayings did you parents or grandparents teach you? And what frugal strategies would you share with us? Chime in in the comments!

About ProudMilitaryMom

Poverty survivor!
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209 Responses to I Get By. Or Poverty 101. Introduction

  1. votermom says:

    Yay! Welcome PMM!

    • lyn5 says:

      Honk! Great job, PMM. The Crawdad Hole is the place to go!.

      • insanelysane says:

        Great blog.
        My way to hunker down is raising chickens and I want to thank you for the broody hen information.
        My girls are giving me a half dozen eggs a day
        and I am bartering with the excess eggs. So far I have a bottle of wine for a dozen eggs a week. I also have one gal who will trade me her goat cheese for a dozen each week.. I hope to get a regular barter network set up. Next Spring, I should be getting almost a dozen eggs a day so I will have some bartering capital!
        Plus I am growing a lot of their food via biodynamic gardening.

  2. votermom says:

    I’m the youngest kid – all my clothes were hand-me downs. My school uniforms would start out with the hems stitched up, then let out year by year, so you could clearly see the folds. LOL.
    When I was 12 I actually got new jeans! I was so excited! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thanks all!
    We all have memories that are going to come in handy. Most here I believe live frugally and how to get by. Sharing our strategies is going to be fun!
    FF had mentioned “Put on a sweater!” Yup. I heard that from my Dad and Mom- of course we kids were never allowed to touch the thermostat lol! Sweaters, long johns, heavy socks.
    I remember my Mom and Nana adding patches to the elbows of the sweaters they had knitted. When patching would no longer suffice, they would unravel the sweaters and salvage as much of the yarn as they could. They would use that for baby and carriage blankets, booties, slippers, hats and mittens. Nothing went to waste!

    • votermom says:

      Speaking of “nothing goes to waste” – you will laugh at this.

      My parents were heavy smokers (my two older sibs also picked up the habit). So there would be empty cigarette packs right? So as a kid I would take those apart and use the paper side to doodle on since I never had enough scratch paper (doodling on blank paper is wasteful).
      Then if I would carefully peel the shiny foil off back of the wrapper too – and I’d have foil to play with and more paper!

  4. votermom says:

    OT Broadwell (Petraeus mistress) said back in Oct that the CIA were holding Libyan militia members hostage. Considering her probable source, I guess this is true?


  5. Mary says:

    Great topic!

    Just to add to all the good ideas, I think American society needs to teach their children the difference between what one NEEDS and what one WANTS.

    I know I’m grateful for my grandmother lovingly making sure I knew the difference, especially as a teenager.

    As she used to phrase it in terms of income/budgets/spending: You do your have-to’s before you do your want-to’s. I loved that—clear and simple.

  6. simofish says:

    As an adult I just stopped spending on ‘stuff’. I would go to garage sales and see all this ‘stuff’ being sold and thought I don’t want my life to be an estate sale. I don’t collect anything – except $$.
    All our outside furniture for our yard is from garage sells. Some of our best pieces in our home are from garage sells. We found an old table with paint. The carvings on the table and wooden wheels gave us a clue – I stripped off the paint and found beautiful wood.
    I found some gorgeous mahogany nesting tables for cheap. I cleaned them up, spot stained them – look brand new.

    • Almost all of my household furnishings are either hand me downs or finds from yard sales, auctions and second hand stores. There are some great pieces out there- much better quality than what is available in the box stores- and better prices as well.

    • swanspirit says:

      Yard and garage sales are wonderful , aqnd fun ! , The freecycle group and craigslist are good too . I use magic jack for my home phone and virgin mobile for my cell , so my monthly phone bill is under $30 , and I had the extreme pleasure of unbundling my cable phone and internet when they tried to double my rates .There are so many ways to be frugal and live well . I am always happy to find a way not to spend money .

      • leslie says:

        I just have to add that when I told Comcast ( ughh) that I wanted to lower my plan, they cut my service completely. I had to have a serviceman come out to “fix” it, they had to admit it was their error and I got free service for a month besides lowering my bill. I hate the cable industry. I don’t think they are any too fond of me either.

  7. t says:

    My MIL hand washes, dries and reuses her paper towels. I think it’s a good idea. I just don’t have enough drying space. But I tend to re-use old paper towels to clean up things like doggie mud, etc.

    • t says:

      I also tend to wait until things really, really, really wear out before I buy new. The couch I’m sitting on is 25 years old. Of course, I attribute that good trait partly to the fact that I hate shopping.

      • t says:

        So many people in my world tend to always need new things and I think they “disapprove” of the fact that I don’t turn things over very often. It’s taken me awhile to come to this point, but now I honestly don’t care what they think. I think people spend a whole lot of time criticizing others’ opinions and habits, where their lives would be so much fuller if they worry instead about themselves.

      • LOL I LOATHE shopping.
        Nothing wrong with old furniture! The things made back then were made to last!

        • myiq2xu says:

          I go shopping when I’m broke – then I can’t impulse buy.

        • t says:

          Yep, my couch is about on its last wooden leg. Half the reason I don’t want to replace it is because I know that anything I buy new will be in this condition after about 2 years.

      • t- can you just replace the cushions?
        Out here, there are Amish and Mennonite craftsmen and that is probably something that could be done. Not sure what area of the country you are in- but perhaps worth checking out?

    • insanelysane says:

      Never buy paper towels or paper napkins. What a colossal waste!

      Old cotton T shirts are the perfect sub for paper towels. Newspaper takes care of the really gross stuff you have to clean like dog barf.

      Use cotton cloth napkins that can be washed and used a million times.
      You can get them for almost free at the 2nd hand stores. Throw them in with your towels in the laundry.

      I haven’t bought paper towels or paper napkins in 30 years. At $3 a pop i figured I saved some huge bucks and saved the environment.
      Anyway cotton is so American.

      • Karma says:

        Along these same lines, washable cleaning supplies. They have these great yellow microfiber cloths at Costco which work great for cleaning up harder messes, safe for car washing, etc. They come in 30 pack for 9.99 or close to it. But it’s better on windows and certain messes due to the microfiber action.

        And they are thicker microfiber than most on the market.

  8. simofish says:

    Both our vehicles are paid for – 10 years old and 12 years old. 50k miles and 135k miles

    I have a friend who buys a new vehicle every 2 years. She never has enough $$

    • Same here. I had my first brand new vehicle ever in 2004. It is paid for. It has 154k miles on it. Still runs well and what I pay in yearly repairs and maintenance is way less than a car payment!

    • elliesmom says:

      We haven’t had a car payment for over 25 years. We buy a good car and drive it into the junk yard. While we’re driving it, we’re saving up for the next one.

      • A good honest mechanic is a must!
        My Honda finally had a bracket break loose on the exhaust. The dealer wanted over 600 bucks to install an entire new exhaust- Turns out it is the only way they sell them!
        I found a local guy who was able to weld a new bracket. 80 bucks including the labor!
        It has had new brakes and new tires. Other than that- regular oil changes. It is due for inspection again next month. The mechanic thinks I can get another few years out of it.
        Given my lack of full time living wage employment- it better lol.

        • elliesmom says:

          Elliesdad is retiring next month, and we’re going from being a two car couple to a one car couple. For health reasons, he doesn’t drive much these days so we think this will be a good way to save some bucks. We’ve been spending some time shopping around for a car we both like. We’re both in our early 60’s, and when we tell the car dealers we’re probably buying the last car we’ll ever buy, they look at us like we’re nuts.

      • Mary says:

        Damn straight, elliesmom! If you take good care of a well-built car, it can last 250,000 miles . And all that time you’re saving for the next one. Great idea!

    • lyn5 says:

      We drive a 10-year-old small SUV and a 24-year-old Camry. With vehicles, we do the same as elliesmom. Our rule of thumb is always live below our means … and save.

  9. Hmmm. The discussion about furniture got me to thinking. I had my parents dining room table and chairs- which I just passed on to my daughter. (We don’t need a large table and all those chairs any longer lol- besides- maybe SHE will invite US for holiday dinners now)
    I don’t recall my parents buying any new furniture while we were growing up, They had good solid furniture- and that was that. I have my grandmother’s hutch, Nana’s rocking chair, a curio cabinet, twin beds that were part of a set of four that my grandparents bought for their boys. I have a three drawer dresser from my parents bedroom set.
    Yup, stuff built to last!

    • Erica says:

      Yes, it was built to last. And doesn’t need to be tinkered with as often as the newer stuff. I have a number of old Scandinavian pieces–an end table, coffee table, and dresser from my mom, and ironically, and end table and dresser and an upright liquor (well, in my case, tea) cabinet from my dad. And an old early american secretary and a display cabinet from my grands. All in all, it means the house is a hodge-podge, but still it seems to work.

  10. yttik says:

    Great topic, PMM. I’m pretty good at living frugal. Lately I’ve been using cheap laundry soap and baking soda, with a shot of vinegar in the rinse water. The clothes are coming out better than they ever did with my favorite detergent. I’ve been cutting the dishwasher soap with baking soda, too.

    We also make our own dog food. I didn’t really want to, but we’ve got this ancient poodle and he doesn’t have many teeth left. Cheap dog food makes him sick and he won’t eat the expensive stuff. He now eats this nasty combination of liverall, oatmeal, eggs, and brewers yeast. He thinks it’s the greatest thing ever. Apparently it’s working because he can climb into my favorite chair again. It’s actually very cheap to make.

    • I would love to have a recipe for dog and cat food! Our dog is getting old- and he is an outside dog (but spoiled lol- two! TWO dog houses! And all the vermin he can catch and eat. Winter is hard for him- the woodchucks all hibernate!)

      • leslie says:

        I’ll try to get my sister’s recipe, PMM. I know she uses chicken for them. (She’s a vegetarian. lol) she used to use brewer’s yeast still might. I’ll find out. She has the ealthiest animals ever.

        • elliesmom says:

          When I had to make Samantha’s dog food because of her allergies, I used ground turkey, sweet potatoes, and veggies. I bought the turkey in huge packages at BJs, the sweet potatoes by the bushel, and the big bags of frozen veggies at BJs, too. The vet had me add Tums to the mix for extra calcium, and I gave her a multivitamin. It wasn’t as cheap as being able to give her grocery store kibble, but it was a lot cheaper than the prescription dog food. I cooked it in big batches once a month, put it through the food mill and froze it. Fortunately, Ellie has no allergies, and I am out of the dog food cooking crowd. But King Arthur Flour has a dog biscuit recipe I make once a year at Christmas time for all of my doggie friends. It starts will boiled liver.

  11. DeniseVB says:

    PMM ! Great post and topic! Just the good ole don’t spend more than you earn has worked for my family. I hate shopping too, that helps ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Agree. Shopping is torture. I am the kind that knows what I plan to buy when I go to the store. I go directly to the item, put it in the cart and get out.
      Husband for some perverse reason likes to wander up and down the aisles. Yuck.
      Clothes shopping is the worst torture of all!

      • yttik says:

        Isn’t that funny? I really hate shopping, too! So naturally what do I wind up doing for a living? Shopping for other people! Arrrgggg…..But it’s all good. Many people, either wealthy or elderly, are willing to pay me to shop for them, usually for groceries or hardware. We live in the boonies and it really is a pain when you run out of light bulbs or something.

  12. myiq2xu says:

    This is something my grandma always did. Back in the day meat portions were small and had to feed a large group. The problem was not too much fat but too little. To get the maximum effect, she mixed flour and milk (with salt and pepper) to the pan drippings after she fried meat. Viola! – instant gravy. Goes great over potatoes or sopped up with bread. Adds flavor too.

    Just a tip for you hungry non-vegans like me.

    PS: Welcome to the front page.

    • THANKS! I always make gravy! Pan drippings should never go to waste!

    • Lulu says:

      I call it cream gravy and it is required for chicken fried steak and very simple to make. My grandmother made wonderful dishes with beans to stretch meat portions. Baked beans with ham, cassoulet with carrots, onions, chicken, sausage and white beans, pintos with tomatoes and bacon, red beans and rice with ham hock. It was delicious and my family still loves this when I make it. The problem is you cannot make a little and it is best when feeding a small army.

      • Love all the old recipes- there will definitely be a chapter (or two) on food frugality!

      • myiq2xu says:

        Make your own tv dinners.

        When I make spaghetti sauce I always end up with way more than I need. So I freeze half of it and only use half as much pasta. A week or two later I can make spaghetti again real quick and easy.

        A pan of lasagne ends up being dinner tonight and 2 tv dinners in the freezer.

        • Yes Myiq- I do the same. This summer I put up a lot of tomatoes and tomato sauce.
          Now that there are only the two of us, I often make a meal and then put individual meals in the freezer.

      • Erica says:

        I make my own baked beans from scratch. Started with an Alton Brown recipe, and modified it to my tastes. Takes a long time, but it’s delish and nothing like canned baked beans. I especially love to have for breakfast: warm the beans, lay a poached or fried egg on top, put some cherry tomatoes from the garden on the side, and sop up any bit that’s left on the plate with a piece of toast or English muffin. It’s my american version of a british breakfast, and it really sticks to my ribs without being over the top calorie or fat-wise.

        • carol haka says:


        • Lulu says:

          Cornbread or hush puppies with beans makes me drool. I’m such a hick and I don’t care. I have my mother’s skillet and it is only for making crusty cornbread.

        • Erica says:

          Carol, it is yummy, spicy and thick with a touch of sweet.
          Lulu, I love cornbread in any form. Do you ever make spoonbread in your mom’s skillet? Spoonbread with butter and honey can make me think I’m on my way to heaven!

  13. mcnorman says:

    Yeah PMM, some more common sense!!! I have never really had to purchase much. I was fortunate enough that everyone in the family liked to buy the tonier stuff so that I inherited the very still usable (not up to the minute fabulous) appliances. That said, most of it is now considered retro. lol They’ve turned their stuff over because most of it was made on the cheap. I’ll keep my furniture and appliances that work. I’ve never been into the ubber fancy stuff which is usually made in China.

    Antiques Roadshow came through and they wanted to showcase furniture. I submitted a pic and they wanted it. I wasn’t thrilled about the moving (they covered it) so I didn’t do it. It’s that old stuff that was made well enough to last 100 years or more. I have no idea of its value, but I do know that it is still very usable and looks great to boot.

    • LOL mcnorman! Yes indeed, the old appliances were the best. I had a washer that was close to twenty years old and it just could not be repaired. I bought a new one and have had nothing but trouble with it since the week it got here. Junk. Made in China.
      I am keeping an eye on the local auctions looking for an old one with no electronics.

      • leslie says:

        I know. I had to go everywhere and still couldn’t find electronic free laundry appliances. I kept the old ones when I moved.

  14. swanspirit says:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Homestead-Survival/388715244534685 I love this group on facebook so many ideas, the latest amazing one , converting an old school bus to a green house!

  15. elliesmom says:

    Besides the use it up , wear it out saying you posted, my grandmother also used to say, “The secret to being happy isn’t having what you want, It’s wanting what you have.”

    I love to shop, but shopping isn’t the same as buying. I’m constantly shopping, but I don’t buy a lot unless you count fabric and yarn. But sewing and knitting are hobbies that produce useable, durable goods. They provide me with entertainment, socialization, and dress me and the grandkids, mostly. The scrap bag produces some of the coolest stuff.

    • Great! Wish I could sew- but alas. My talents run to gardening, cooking and singing lol. My Mom could sew though! I used to pay her to sew my clothes after I no longer lived at home. Never could get anything off the rack to fit and she would have to do alterations anyway. SO why not get clothes I liked, well made, of good material?

      • simofish says:

        Wish I could sew.

        • mcnorman says:

          Never think that you cannot. OMG with YouTube and all the great sites on the internet you can become a very good seamstress or tailor very quickly. You just have to have time.

          As for the machine? Well, check out your local thrift stores because a lot of old machines (better than the new ones because there are so many spare parts available for repair) are readily available for dirt cheap. You can even find industrial equipment for little.

          I can tell you that some of the old sewing machines are worth a ton today because they were meant to last and do very fine work. If you are in the need for a sewing machine, drop me a line. I have a portable that needs a new home.

        • elliesmom says:

          My grandmother started teaching me to sew when I was six. So I’ve been sewing for 55 years. There’s an investment to get started, but it really isn’t magic.If you can measure and cut, and can follow directions, there are a lot of things you can make while you’re learning how to control the machine. I have kept one of my old basic sewing machines well-oiled and in good repair so I can teach my grandchildren how to sew like my grandmother taught me. She taught me on a White 1891 treadle machine my grandfather bought her for a wedding present. It still works just fine! While Elliesdad has indulged me in a machine that requires a pilot’s license to operate, a fancy machine really isn’t necessary to make good quality clothing and home decorating items. One of places you can really save a lot of money is making curtains and slipcovers yourself.

        • mcnorman says:

          Elliesmom is right simofish. Fancy is not always better. There are a lot of workhorses around.

          Elliesmom, I still use my treadle 1911 Singer. It handles all of the upholstery fabric. I work with a rescue and make dog and cat beds for them. I find the upholstery fabric at the estate sales. No one ever bothers with them and they are dirt cheap by the bolt. $10 for 30 yards of heavy upholstery fabric is great. I stuff them with old wool blanket cutouts. It usually takes some washing, cutting and a few stitches and we are done. I can make them whatever size is needed. All in all, it’s a great way to use the treadle and give something to the animals.

        • Erica says:

          That’s cool, mcnorman

        • Lulu says:

          There are great videos for learning how to sew. Look on Craftsy.com. Some are free. Used machines are readily available and very inexpensive. The best tailors are men. Just saying.

        • mcnorman says:

          Move to Tx and you will learn all sorts of things.

          Thanks Erica. I was taught never to toss out anything that can be reused. Funny, the dogs and cats only want a warm bed and they never complain if the material is too frilly. lol

      • elliesmom says:

        My grandmother taught my mother to knit and me to sew. We used to trade finished garments. I’d make the two of us skirts and my mom would make us sweaters. I still wear the last sweaters she made me before she died in 1995. When I finally realized no one was going to knit for me anymore, I learned to knit myself. But I mostly make hats and mittens, although I have made the grandkids a couple of sweaters. I can cook up a storm, can’t grow much of anything although I’m a farmer’s daughter, and people pay me not to sing. I do go to places that let me pick my own, and as Nana used to say “put things by”. I have shelves full of jams and jellies and a freezer full of veggies from this summer.

  16. simofish says:

    I also make homemade stock. So when I roast a chicken I save the carcass – toss it in the freezer until I’m ready to make a stock.

    If I have veggies going bad – I make a stock.

    Great for soups

  17. piper says:

    But I thought money grew on tree.

    One tip I learned early on from Mom – turn the heat way down at night and sleep under warm blankets – our 25 year old down comforters still keep us warm.

    • Oh yes. I turn the thermostat down to 55 at night. My parents always turned the heat down at night and we all had plenty of blankets.
      I confess to sleeping in a heated waterbed though. My back won’t take a regular mattress now for more than one or two nights. Even in the summer. It is my one digression from frugality. Though I suppose what I save on medication and therapy offsets some.

    • votermom says:

      We use those microwavable heat pads – put a warm one under the blankets and it stays warm quite a bit.

  18. We doing what we need to do at our house today. I’m making chicken and dumplings as we speak, with lots of stuff bought on managers special (the day before the expiration date), including chicken thighs, mushrooms, fresh sage, and carrots. Used the last of the celery, too, which was in that stage where it’s more flexible than crunchy, but for chicken stock and stew base, it doesn’t matter.

    I’m also waiting for a guy to come pick up our Wii, which I put on Craigslist. We haven’t used it in months and what with the daughter’s new smart tv, we don’t need it to stream Netflix anymore. And I need a new set of nails and a haircut for the interview Wednesday, so the Wiii will pay for that and more.

    I realize it’s not exactly Depression territory, since we are talking about Netflix and fake nail sets, but it’s a dance of survival nonetheless. I’m just glad I have options. Good post, PMM.

  19. swanspirit says:

    My Lasko oscillating space heater with a thermostat built in cut $30 – to $50 from my electric bill each month last winter , and considering it cost me $39.00 at Walmart , it has paid for itself many times over , and I am thinking of getting another one .

    • mcnorman says:

      I think every penny counts. I love what this artist did on a floor makeover. Using pennies to make a great copper floor. Looks beautiful.

      • elliesmom says:

        I have a friend who tore up the carpeting in her daughter’s bedroom expecting to find a hardwood floor, and found plywood instead. She couldn’t afford to replace the carpet so she painted the floor and used paper doilies to stencil it. It’s gorgeous! Looks like a lace floor.

      • WOW! Hope they checked to make sure none of those are the old pennies that actually were copper. Could be a fortune in that floor!

      • DM says:

        That penny floor is gorgeous. I’ve seen tables with acrylic that show off embedded items, but making a floor must have been difficult.

        • mcnorman says:

          I can tell you that the floor was cheap compared to wood or tile. Most of the artist cost was in the labor. How many pennies to a square foot? Marble, tile or wood are more expensive right now. The longevity of a penny floor is a very long time.

          I always thought that painting the floor was nice as well. You do have to do a lot of planning and make sure that you have the space free of humans and animals for a few days in order to clear coat it.

    • We put plastic over our windows last month. I helped my neighbor do her windows today with the leftover supplies. We’re already saving money, and now she will too.

      • I have the back of the house done- prevailing winds from that direction. Will be finishing up the sides and front this week.

        • Lulu says:

          I have an attic pull down stair that used to leak hot or cold air from the attic. I, me, myself installed a thingie called an attic tent that is insulated and zips up. It completely stopped the hot or cold air leaking in. It made a big difference in heating and cooling bills immediately. All you need is a hand staple gun to install it. My HVAC guy started installing them after he saw mine.

  20. myiq2xu says:

    Here’s a trick I learned – I try to do my shopping with cash – no checks or ATM cards.

    Something about having to part with actual real money makes me more frugal.

    • swanspirit says:

      I need to do that ,

    • DM says:

      myiq, by using cash you are starving the financial companies that take a percent from the retailer for every purchase with a debit or a credit card. If everyone used cash (go to the atm before shopping), the retailers might just hold their prices down.

      • carol haka says:

        Merchant Services is the business i was in for 23 years. That % pays for fraud, cost of money, risk, networks, 1000’s of employees that support the opportunity to not have to use cash. Additionally, the merchant gets paid the next day vs. when the customer pays his cc in the next 30 to 45 days. It is built into the cost of doing business. Most of the % goes to the bank that issued the cc, a little over 1 basis point goes to MC VISA and now usually about 20 basis points goes to processor. Merchants should be begging for the opportunity to accept cc’s instead of bitching about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • DM says:

          The only risk with cash is that of robbery, but for the most part, most businesses will get great savings if people used cash. The list you give is the perfect advertisement for Merchant Services. But here is something for you. I go to a gas station that drops the price of gas per gallon if I use cash. And it’s not the only one that does that. Arco does the same thing. This is not happenstance. Using cash is better for the business, period. It’s inconvenient and more risky for the consumer to have to carry cash, but I do it to starve the card issuing companies.

        • carol haka says:

          People who use cash spend less than people who use Visa. People who use MasterCard spend more than those who use Visa or Cash. People who use American Express spend upwards of 50% more than those who use MasterCard or Visa or Cash and purchase items that have higher profit margins. If you are someone who owns a restaurant you want someone sitting at your table that is paying with American Express because they are going to buy liquor, appetizers and desserts – the items on the menu with the highest profit margins.

      • leslie says:

        Take cash, have a list, and EAT before grocery shopping. It works.

        p.s. don’t forget to take the list. lol.

    • Karma says:

      That’s a good idea. I might have to start doing that.

  21. yttik says:

    I love this thread and I love being frugal because of all the creativity it brings out in people. Also the quality of doing things on your own is so much better. You can buy a cheap pot pie in the store, but oh my, there’s nothing like a homemade one!

    But, I do want to be a spoilsport and mention that here in America, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we shouldn’t HAVE to scrape by just to keep the lights on. It is so wrong that people are working two, three jobs, and struggling just to pay a modest mortgage. It’s not fair that the cost of living is now so far away from the value of wages. It’s not fair that elderly people are losing their homes and having to move in with their children. It’s not right that people are going to college and still can’t find a good job. So….I may be creative and even cheerful about poverty, but I’m actually really pissed off about what the government has done to this country.

    • Me too. This is America- and it pissed me off that here we are recycling strategies our grandparents used in the old country and during the Depression. We are the fortunate ones though. So many of the entitlement crowd have no clue how to do any of this.
      They just keep waiting for Big Brother to do it for them.

      • DM says:

        Those who live from paycheck to paycheck and borrow to meet their monthly expenses go to fast food places instead of cooking. That’s very expensive. Eating salads is more healthy than prepared food. Salads can be made to stick to the ribs by adding garbanzo, red beans, and other beans. India survives with lentils (cook faster than other legumes) and rice. There are many varieties of lentils and many recipes for dhal. Throw the lentil into a slow cooker and come home to a meal ๐Ÿ™‚

        • smile says:

          Lentils are great DM. When you buy dry lentils, check out the prices. Where I shop, a bag of lentils without a famous brand name is less than $1, and right next to this bag is one from a famous brand for almost $3.

          Here are some Indian tricks. A great way to save energy when cooking lentils (and other dry legumes) is to soak them in water, say 1 cup lentils to 5 cups water. You can never have too much water. Lentils will soften and even begin to split within 4-5 hours. Saute some onions and garlic, pour the lentils, you can re-use the water they were soaking in, put some ginger, chili, salt, turmeric powder (great for your health and your skin) other spices as desired, fresh veggies or frozen veggies (which is sometimes cheaper), and cook for 15-20 minutes to desired softness. This way you don’t have to cook for too long, which saves your energy bill and time spent in the kitchen.

          When soaking larger or harder legumes and beans, you may have to soak overnight or even for 24 hours. Soaking brings out something different in the food because it causes the seeds to germinate, so they sort of become alive and bring different nutritiousness to the diet.

          You can even soak them for a few hours, longer for bigger beans, then remove the water, and cover them in a damp thin cloth. You may have to dampen the cloth a few times as you wait 7-8 hours. This will cause them to germinate and sprout. Enjoy them in your salads, stir-frys, or other dishes.

    • elliesmom says:

      I hear what you’re saying. My husband and I have never lived up to our means choosing instead to build up a nest egg so that we could retire in some comfort. We knew that medical conditions would probably preclude one or both of us from making it all the way to 66 before we needed to stop working so we planned for an earlier retirement. It really sucks that what should have provided us with a comfortable living is just going to be enough to get by. We’ll be OK, but it won’t be the retirement we planned for. Then I think about friends who will only have social security and a very small savings, and I get ashamed of myself for whining. I don’t know how people can make it on social security alone anymore. And the uncertainty about what’s coming down the pike for social security and medicare makes planning impossible.

  22. carol haka says:

    My Mother said, “Go to college, get a degree. Work hard. Save your money. Watch out for strange men with strange names. ” Well, not the last statement. So, I blame her that I did all those things and the strange man with the strange name was the one bit of advice she did warn off. I’ve cut back. As much as possible. I will survive if I. Make it until June 1. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ Sorry everyone is having such a difficult time. It breaks my heart that we have been so cheated out of our lives and money. I hate that m*fucking piece of sh*t!

    • DM says:

      Did she warn you about a man named Hussein? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • DM says:

      Carol, if you’ve made it until now, you will make it for a few more years.

    • elliesmom says:

      My mother said, “Marry a doctor.” My grandmother said, “Become a doctor yourself.” My dad said, “Take the full scholarship to engineering school.” My big brother said, “Never trust a guy who says ‘trust me'”. The men in my life gave the best advice. lol

  23. Lulu says:

    I have a clothes line. Except for the occasional bird shit I prefer line dried clothes because they smell better.

    • Funny story about clothes lines. When we first moved out here to PA we were driving out of town and went by a yard where there were what had been lovely white sheets and towels hanging on a line in someone’s yard.
      Under the line was a flock of about 20 wild turkeys having a dust bath!
      I am sure the person who went to all the trouble of hanging that wash was very very unhappy when they got home!

      • elliesmom says:

        Would you believe clothesline are regulated in the town where I live?

        • AYFKM? What the hell?

        • Lulu says:

          I have read about that before being placed in building covenants. They need to change them due to the rising cost of energy. As long as someone is not hanging up underwear along the street it is no one else’s business. What is wrong with sheets, towels and jeans hanging on a line in someone’s backyard? At least it indicates someone is clean and industrious.

        • leslie says:

          Same here. Well, the building does. PLUS, I can’t have window air conditioners because they “distract” from the facade. Really.

        • myiq2xu says:

          You can see underwear in the store and in ads, sometimes on models and mannequins. Why not clotheslines?

        • elliesmom says:

          We can have clotheslines. They cannot be visible from the street. If they’re on poles, the poles must be cemented in lower than the frost line to meet building codes. I used to have a clothesline. It was on a pulley that connected from my back porch to the edge of our barn. We tore down our barn and replaced it with a smaller structure. The new building left a gap between it and the house which would make the line visible from the street. So the clothesline had to go. We replaced the small porch with a large deck. I have clothes hangers I can put out on the deck, but they’re not big enough to dry sheets. The old pulley line was great because I could stand on the porch and hang the wash, which made the laundry hang high off the ground. My mom used to hang wash in the cellar when it rained, but I’ve never taken it that far.

        • Cheese and Rice! Talk about over regulating. That is just nuts. Building codes for clothes lines? I would be dying laughing if it wasn’t so, imho, ridiculously stupid.
          My Mom had a pulley clothesline- went from the back porch to a hug tree.
          ALL the neighbors had clotheslines- and Monday was wash day. I can still remember coming home from school and all along the route we walked, everyone’s clothes lines would be full on Mondays.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Some neighborhoods have CCR’s that prohibit clothes lines.

    • mcnorman says:

      Perfect way to bleach stains as well. I have reclaimed my clothesline. I love the fresh unperfumed scent that the sun leaves behind.

  24. eriezindian says:

    This is gonna be a great blog! I have learned at least 5 great ideas already. Great going, PMM.

  25. LOL! You all have inspired me- I am already working on the next two chapters!

  26. myiq2xu says:


    RD, on November 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm said:

    The primary reason why you were moderated was your persistence with the subject which I have decided I no longer want to discuss on this blog. The people you left behind feel likewise.
    Honestly, why do you care? Arenโ€™t your merry band of mean spirited, religious, whip-kissers enough for you? Or have their heads exploded once they realized their particular brand of politics was reprehensible to the rest of the country? You know why we have four more years of Obama? Itโ€™s because of people like your commenters. Nobody likes them. They give all the alternatives a nasty taint of guilt by association.
    But I approve almost all of your comments, myiq. Not that it matters. Youโ€™re opinions veered wildly away from us and now belong to a different set of bloggers. Nevertheless, as long as you donโ€™t bring up the subject for which you are being moderated, youโ€™re more than welcome to be a very square peg here.

    • elliesmom says:

      I might be mean-spirited, but religious, I’m not. I don’t know what a whip-kisser is. I do know a brat when I see one. lol

    • Oh no. I can take the part about nobody liking me- cuz I am at the age where I don’t give a shit.
      But she is not pinning Obama on me. NO FUCKING WAY!
      All the pearl clutching “The other side is worse” and entitled brats OWN Obama- not me. I voted for Hillary and then the other guy- both times.

    • carol haka says:

      Dang! Sticks and stones. I can see how wanting balanced budgets, energy independence, being respectful to other positions, and wanting to perserve the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death can be really offense to some people. I do remember her asking me during a discussion of abortion, “but what if you just got a promotion.” ๐Ÿ‘ฟ I’m heartbroken with a big “who cares”.

      • myiq2xu says:

        Actually most of us here are pro-choice but fall into the “safe, legal and rare” category.

        • elliesmom says:

          I incurred her wrath one day when she said it was nobody’s business why a woman was choosing to have an abortion, asked if she supported abortion for gender selection.

    • lyn5 says:

      LOL. Is it me, or does she sound like an Obot who loves to project? Let’s blame everyone who voted against Opoleon and Val Jar Jar for keeping them in power. Country Before Party is my brand of politics.

    • carol haka says:

      Sarah Palin’s brand of politics had an 87%+ approval rating until a load of bullshit lies was hurled at her by both parties. I’ll take her anyday of the week over Obama, Romney, and Benghazi Hillary. I thought liberals and progressives were actually suppose to be liberal and progresssive. Maybe those word don’t really mean what people like RD think they do. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

      • swanspirit says:

        I misread what you wrote and I thought it said RD is a smell tent Democrat , and i am not sure what that might mean , but I will just let it define RD

    • Lulu says:

      “the people you left behind”? What? Like seven people.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Principles before… shut up and support Obama. Or something.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Why does she keep pretending it was about Palin instead of about OWS? And why isn’t she still talking about OWS? Wait, I know, don’t tell me, it’s because shut up that’s why.

      • carol haka says:

        She banned Sarah Palin long before OWS. The Klown kept posting about Sarah anyway. As time went on, RD couldn’t bring herself to remember she voted for Sarah instead against Obama. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    • DandyTiger says:

      I don’t understand why they and the skyhating crowd don’t get back together. They seem the same these days.

    • carol haka says:

      And, oh yeah RD, we have 4 more years of Obama because #1 Obots stole the election with that whole 116% of the vote for Obama after the thieving asswipe bought off the unions with our money. #2 GOPe insisted on the next in line that couldn’t go hard on Obamacare because he was the founding father. And, he didn’t. Know how to get down in the dirt with a pig. #3. Oh yeah, did i mention that the 99% of the AA’s that voted for him were racists? ๐Ÿ‘ฟ RD has a hard-on for abortion. That was never a part of Sarah Palin’s platform – abortion vs no abortion. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

  27. SHV says:

    “The starving children were always in India when I was growing up. ”
    I wonder if that still goes on in the “modern” family? My sister, a depression baby, heard “eat you ____, children are starving in Russia” when it was my turn: “eat you ____, children are starving in Korea.”

    • I think the starving children are in Africa now. Maybe Darfur for those modern families who pay attention to more than American Idol.

    • DM says:

      Right after WW2, children were told to eat what was on the plate because children in Germany were starving. Operation Vittles (Berlin air lift) was in the news.

  28. myiq2xu says:

    The Firefly reunion special is on Syfy tonight.

  29. DM says:

    The WH and Holder are played politics and destroyed a man’s career. I read a CBS story that the FBI found that no crime had been committed.

    In the aftermath of the investigation, some lawmakers are aiming criticism at the FBI and the Obama administration, including Attorney General Eric Holder, who knew about the email link to Mr. Petraeus as far back as late summer. A House Republican leader also learned of the matter in October. Some argue that Mr. Petraeus shouldn’t have resigned; others said that the FBI should have formally notified Congress earlier.

    The top Senate Democrat on intelligence issues said Sunday she would investigate the FBI’s handling of the inquiry, and why the matter wasn’t shared earlier with Congress.

  30. leslie says:

    This was a great beginning. Thanks PMM! (and everyone else)

  31. I am off for the night. The cats so far are refusing to acknowledge the time change lol.
    Next chapter will be saving on utility bills!
    Thanks for the grand reception!

  32. John Denney says:

    Energy is going to become expensive. Chinese cooking methods require less energy: cut food into small pieces before cooking, don’t boil when you can steam instead, which takes less water. Water requires a lot of energy to boil, so boil just enough to produce enough steam to do the cooking. For instance, a half cup of water is enough to steam potatoes for four. Put a lid on them (they can’t boil over) and put the heat high until steam starts coming out, then turn down the heat until there’s just a wisp of steam. As the potatoes heat up, you can keep turning down the heat every few minutes, keeping just a faint wisp of steam coming from under the lid. Pressure cooker is also great.

  33. Somebody says:

    Boy I step away for a bit and there are 138 comments, way to go PMM!!

    Of course to be fair apparently 138 comments from a small group of mean spirited, religous, whip-kissers. I figure that last one is because she knows about your infamous whip PMM.

    Whatever, why are the bots such nasty winners? That part about wishing Obama was an honest leader, WTF??? So you voted for him anyway, what a dumbass. I bet the person that made than comment was one of the ones that stocked up on tampons because Romney was supposedly going to outlaw them.

    Moving on, great topic. I don’t know that I can add much. My MIL was probably the most frugal person I ever knew. We used to say she could pinch a penny until Lincoln jumped off, LOL! One thing she used to do and this is odd…..but she used to save the little bits of soap that are too small for anything. She saved them up and eventually melted them in the microwave and created a new bar of soap. She had one of those travel containers for a bar of soap she used as a mold to pour the melted soap into. Although these days people make their own soaps as a hobby.

    MIL also washed and reused baggies, heck she saved everything and I do mean everything.

    Gosh I guess none of you guys would like to hang out with me because I enjoy shopping.

    I also disagree that anyone can sew……I have some kind of recessive gene that makes me unable to sew. I can cook, clean, garden you name it but sew a straight line, not on my life…..hangs head in shame. The good news is my husband can sew, he comes from a long line of tailors, guess it’s just in his genes. He only sews when absolutely necessary though.

    • DM says:

      Votermom was using the whip the other day, and now PMM. What’s with the whips. I guess I have put the video again.

    • Erica says:

      I’m one of those people who make soap. From scratch. And each year I teach a soap workshop as part of my church’s “Harvest of Gifts”–a fundraiser. It is great fun, plus we can give it as gifts and never have to buy a bar in the store. I also make my own laundry gel–it works great, you get less static, so no need for dryer sheets or softeners, and it cost a few bucks (maybe less, I haven’t costed it out) for a two month supply or so. Big savings. I’ve had good success with homemade deodorant, works really well, but depending on the ingredients, may melt at temps near 100, but that usually is fine where I live.

    • I remember my nana saving all the ends of the soap too!

  34. DM says:

    H/T Lambert at Corrente

    [#1]We have to have Obama’s back. As he is blocked and attacked by the Right, we need to be there with him. We are the majority. Let’s act like it. — M. Moore

    LOL — Someone has to leave to have them come back. Obama never left.

  35. lorac says:

    I know most of you guys are from the Confluence, but I never really cared for it. RD was always too weird for me. When she said she was so proud of her daughter for making a tinfoil dress and wearing it to school, that was too over the top for me to even keep occasionally lurking.

    But I thought of her when I was listening to Romney’s book. He mentioned that we need to put more money into pharmaceutical development. Made me laugh – she hates him I’m sure, but he would have put her back to work lol

    • votermom says:

      Voting against her own self interest -she’s a fool.

    • DM says:

      I think she allowed the Democratic talking points about Romney to sway her opinion. I doubt that she read anything about Romney that didn’t come from the Democrats.

    • Mary says:

      Even if Romney had been elected and improved the pharmaceutical industry prospects, RD, is never going to be re-hired. She can’t get along with others. She can’t be anything but the queen. She can’t accept differences in other people. She’s stuck in name-calling adolescence, and not interested in self-examination or growth.

      Has nothing to do with Romney. Has to do with her.

      She’s still in the denial phase. Stuck. More bitter and whiny every day.

      Not gonna happen.

  36. lorac says:

    PS – PMM, great job! xxoo

  37. swanspirit says:

    I am looking forward to more of your posts PMM !!! Loved this one !

  38. westcoaster says:

    In Brazil they eat beans and rice and a thin slice of meat every day except Sunday, when they eat spaghetti or roasted chicken. It fills you up and little is spent on meat. An Italian dish called “alho e oleo” contains just fried garlic, noodles and olive oil.

    • DM says:

      I make that pasta with garlic and olive oil from time to time, but I learned from an Italian.

    • Funny, I have beans on hand all the time. Garbanzo, kidney, northern, black beans. I keep dried and canned on hand all the time. Cheap protein and full of good vitamins and minerals. I add them to salads and soups. And make my own Hummus of course!

    • cj says:

      I wish someone in my family had saved my grandmother’s recipies because, except for holidays, meat was mostly used for flavoring. Lots of “greens” sauteed in garlic & olive oil & spaghetti with just about anything. I absolutely loved her spaghetti & white sauce made with ricotta & basil (?), but my father hated it, so my mother never made it.

      I don’t know how she did it. 7 kids and very little money, but there was always something in the pantry for unexpected company. Me, if my next door neighbor stopped by for a little lunch, I’d have to run to the supermarket for food.

  39. DandyTiger says:

    I learned to make soap and beer in high school. I’m set.

  40. soupcity says:

    Late to the thread but have been buying large bulk quantities of chicken. Many times you can get 10 lb bag leg of quarters for around 5 bucks (sometimes less). I separate the bag into meal sized portions and freeze. Shoot, I can get 3 or 4 meals out of that one bag. Same with giant rolls or packs of ground beef, portion them out and freeze. A few times when we were really broke, at least I had something in that freezer.

  41. cj says:

    I love this thread PMM, thank you so much for starting it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. John Denney says:

    Learn the basics of electricity and how to use a multi-meter (at least the volt-meter and ohm-meter settings) and soldering iron. Power cords for your favorite electrical devices tend to break internally at flex points. It’s trivial to take it apart, solder things back together again, and use electrical tape as the new insulation. I fixed a friend’s favorite irreplaceable old rice cooker and a fan. Fixed my laptop power cord more times than I can remember (skinny little wire where it plugs into back of laptop).

    • Husband is very handy with that kind of stuff. My brother is a master electrician and able to answer some complicated questions- unfortunately he lives 700 miles away so can’t come out and actually do the work. lol

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