Thursday, October 29, 2009

Things Not To Buy: Paper Towels

Dear Cheapskate,

Another simple rule for you:

Rule: Never, ever, buy paper towels.

Every time you eliminate an item from you repertoire of things to purchase, not only do you save money, you save trips to the store, relieve yourself of things to carry home, reduce your garbage (and thus get a lighter trash can to carry), and help the environment!

Plus you can sneer at the other suckers who have paper towels in their grcery carts!

Paper towels: Who needs 'em? I mean, humans sruvived for all but the last fifty years, just fine, without paper towels.

Oh, wah, wah. No, you don't need paper towels, not even for drying your lettuce.

Use cloth towels in the kitchen, even for drying your lettuce. I have about twenty kitchen towels. Some of them are threadbare or have holes, but these are the best ones for drying lettuce! Use them for wiping things, drying things, everything you would use paper towels for.

Ok, I, myself, have often been tempted to buy just one, one!, roll of paper towels for the purpuse of washing windows. The windows were sooo dirty and it made my cloth towels filthy!
I resisted tempation and I didn't buy paper towels. Instead I bought a squeegee at the dollar store. For a dollar! It's a great squeegee! It has a spongy side and a squeegee side! It works great for windows. And who wouldn't want to say the word "squeegee" as often as possible!!!

If you want to treat yourself to the paper towel experience, you can do so for free!! Whenever you go to the food court at Costco, or a place that offers free paper napkins, grab a few! Even if you don't buy the food court stuff. (Never buy the food court stuff! See upcoming post on not buying snacks.) Then you can luxuriate, on special occasions such as washing a mirror, with a paper-towel-like wipe!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hummingbird Food

Dear Cheapskate,

In my never ending quest to provide entertainment for Beaubeau, I lured some birds to the window for him to watch. It's like TV for cats, only better! Hummingbirds. I got some hummingbird feeders on freecycle and then I went to buy some hummingbird food at the pet store. It's expensive!! $5.99 for 2 liters of red liquid. I read the ingredients: Sugar, red food coloring, and water - for $5.99!!! $5.99 for sugar, red dye, and water???? I could make this at home for practically free!!

Hummingbird Food
Dissolve 1/4 cup sugar in 1 cup water
(I figured the hummingbirds would be ok without the poisonous red food coloring.)

That's it!!

2 Liters Hummingbird Food From Store: $5.99
2 Liters Hummingbird Food From Home: 40 cents

The hummingbirds guzzle this stuff!! And I don't blame them! Yay, sugar! The little sugar addicts drink a liter a week. That's 52 liters per year!

Savings per year: $290.68

But what about Beaubeau???

Beaubeau lounges at the window basking in the sun while the hummingbirds flit around right in front of his face!! Beaubeau looks up ever so slightly and says, "Oh, another hummningbird."

I got a cutting of pineapple sage from freecycle and it grew into this big plant! When the hummingbirds aren't too drunk on sugar water, they drink/eat/guzzle/sip/snort the pineapple sage. They're so cute!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Suggestions from a Brilliant Cheapskate

Dear Cheapskate,

One of our esteemed fellow cheapskates has sent several amazingly cheap tips!! She is a genius!!

Here are her tips:

1) "I'm not sure if this is too cheap or what, my husband thinks it is, but after we've squeezed out as much toothpaste from a tube as we can, I cut the bottom of the tube off, scrape what I can off from the bottom inch or so, cut a bit more off, etc, etc, until I've cut most of the tube off and am scraping paste off from inside the funnel-part and neck. You can get at least 5-10 additional brushings out, depending on how flat you've squeezed the tube. Maybe more if you don't use a flat object to squeeze paste to the top. My extremely cheap suggestion."

2) "Another tip - if you don't eat organic, have you checked out ethnic stores? I've been meaning to check out the Indian places on San Pablo and University in Berkeley, I hear spices are very reasonable there."

3) "I have a money saving tip for you re: fleas and cats. Several years ago, a vet at school told me that Advantage (NOT Advantix or Advantage Multi) for dogs was exactly the same as Advantage for cats, just put in different sized tubes. You just need a syringe (no needle). Ever since, I have never paid the cat dosing price for our three cats. I buy Advantage for large dogs (the bigger the better), pull out a tube, shake well, squirt a little on a piece of waxed paper or foil, something you can throw away, and suck up a dose in a syringe. If you get too much out, you can put it back in the tube. For cats and kittens under 9lb, it's 0.4ml, for cats over 9lb, it's 0.8ml. Then you hunt down little Fluffy, darn her flea-ridden hide, pin her down, and apply as normal. - works with Frontline, too (diff. doses) if that's your poison of choice. I personally won't go more than two months between doses during the warm months once the cats get fleas, I have small, delicious, and tender-skinned children. And an equally unamused larger delicious and tender-skinned husband. I buy a mondo pack for mondo dogs ($65 online at Fosters Smith, no idea where I got it last time), and it will last me easily a year. Same 6 pack for cats would cost just about the same amount and only last me a couple doses. If you only have one cat, it would last you a very long time even if you dosed every month."

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Things Not To Buy: Juice

Dear Cheapskate,

Have you read the nutritional information on the back of the juice bottle? Any kind of juice? It's mostly sugar. Just empty, cavity-inducing, fattening calories. I never buy juice and I save money. Drink tap water instead! Tap water is pretty much free!! And it's definitely delicious! Put some in the refrigerator to make it even more delicious. Yum. Nice, cold tap water.

If you have three kids and buy a gallon of organic apple juice and a half gallon of fresh squeezed orange juice per week, that's, like, $14 per week. That's $728 per year!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pets: Fleas

Dear Cheapskate,

Did you happen to own a dog in the 1970's? Were you overwhelmed with fleas? Did you do the best you could and arm your dog with a flea collar and a flea-shampoo bath? Did the fleas fill the carpet and jump so high, en masse, that you had to walk across your room high in the air, by stepping from a chair to a wobbly desk to a chair to the bed, to avoid the floor where an ocean of vicious fleas awaited your delicious leg blood? Would you vacuum them up but it didn't help much? Never mind your poor, dear, miserable, itching, scratching pet?

Now there's this miracle flea liquid you apply to your pet once a month! Just a few drops between your pet's shoulder blades a mere once a month and there are no fleas! Personally, after my experience with the untrainable, undefeatable, fleas of the 1970's, I was willing to pay any price for these fabulous anti-flea drops. WAS willing to. It's, like, twenty bucks a pop. Worth it? Yes.

But I wondered: How can I save some money here?

I happened to talk to a vet (a veterinarian, not a veteran) who told me that indoor cats can get by with the treatments every two months. Hallelujah! I save $10 per month, or $120 per year!!

Then I wondered: What if I give this to my cat every four months?
So I did! No fleas! I save $15 per month, or $180 per year!

Then, my friend told me he never puts the drops on his indoor cat. But he lives in an apartment on the fourth floor in the city. Cockroaches, yes. Fleas, no.

My cat, Beaubeau, lives on the first floor and sits by a lot of open windows, tempting the fleas with all his soft, thick, great-for-hiding-in, fur.

Maybe Beaubeau can hold off the fleas for five months! Six! I'll save even more money!

Here's what I'm wondering: Why don't they put this stuff on kids who have lice?