Friday, June 18, 2010

Frivolous Friday: Biscuits for the Cheap and Lazy

Dear Cheapskate,

Need a decadent snack? You don't have to make a special trip to the store and you don't have to spend a lot of money. Try these butter biscuits which are basically just warm butter sponges. Load them up with melted butter! (And you thought I lived an austere life of deprivation, but no! These biscuits are pure luxury!)

Microwave until soft: 1/2 stick butter (yes, melting butter is biscuit blasphemy because it affects the flakiness but I'm too lazy to cut up cold butter)
Mix in:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (could use 2 but 1 is half the price)
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup water with a squirt of vinegar (could use buttermilk but I'm too cheap)

Plop globs onto a cookie sheet (no buttering the pan, no cutting or shaping the dough - too much work)

Bake at 375 for about 18  minutes

Tip: Turn on the oven as you put the biscuits in. Do not preheat! Use that preheating heat to cook the biscuits. No wasted heat! Preheating is for spendthrifts!

Cost (if you bought the flour in bulk, the butter at Costco, and the baking soda at Grocery Outlet): 48 cents
That's 7 cents for a giant biscuit!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Movies! Books! Puppet Shows! Concerts! Poetry Slams! Dancing Girls!

Ok, not dancing girls. Except maybe in a tap dance class, which could happen.


I'm talking about the public library. Never pay for books or movies. Borrow them from the library! If, like me, you live a couple of blocks from a tiny branch library, a library with a small selection, fret not. Go online, order the latest best seller (or moldy old poor-seller) from the main library, wait for the happy email notification, then go pick it up at that little library! They'll rubber band your name onto it!!!!

The library offers all sorts of other stuff, too, like stories and shows for little kids, art exhibits, lectures by famous authors, movies with popcorn, chess, free lawyers and tax help, internet access, puppet shows, magic shows, "Dial-A-Story", workshops on writing, speaking Spanish, jazz combo, quilting, and knitting.

All totally free!!


I pay a $116 per year library tax with my property tax. I have to pay it whether I use the library or not, but I do use it a lot!! It's a bargain! If I bought all the books and movies I get from the library it would cost a bundle.

Savings: Thousands of dollars

Monday, June 14, 2010

Marriage. Hunh! Yeah. What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing!

Dear Cheapskate,

Save a ton of money by implementing the following tip:

Tip: Don't get married.

Aw, Cheapskate, you look so upset! Are you deeply offended? Have I gone too far? I knew this would blow your mind! If you're serious about saving money think of marriage not as a romantic endeavor but as a money sucking scheme.

[Note that though this author is twice divorced she is still absolutely, totally, 100% UNBIASED!! Isn't that great!?!!]

Reasons to NOT get married [Completely objective!!]

Spending and Debt.
Is the prospective spouse a cheapskate? Is he as deliriously frugal as you are? Probably not. (Who is?) Do you want this spendthrift near your finances?

Financial Aid.
Do you have kids in college?
Check out these financial aid FAQ's.

You could be stuck with your spouse's medical bills! Then again, maybe you can find a spouse who will provide you with precious medical insurance. [If anyone knows of the availability of this type of medical-insurance-providing prospective spouse please send info asap to and disregard the rest of this post.]

Reasons TO get married.
Publicity stunt.
The right to visit your spouse in the slammer.

Cheapskate, I can see that you are still very offended.
Have you been happily married for many, many years? Did it save you money? Do tell!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lotion Revolution!

Dear Cheapskate,

Disaster! I'm out facial lotion.
Nightmare! Grocery Outlet is out of my lotion of choice, the 99 cents stuff, my maximum allotment for facial lotion.

I read the ingredients on the side of the jar. The main ingredient in my lotion, apparently, is mineral oil. I searched online. The most expensive lotions (like, $500?!?)  feature olive oil as an ingredient.
So, why not just use olive oil??? I already have olive oil. I don't even have to go to the store, forage for aloe vera plants, pillage a bee hive for wax, or otherwise expend effort gathering ingredients.

Cheapskate, stop laughing. Do you have a good reason to not try using olive oil as a facial lotion? Bold ideas like these change the world so wipe that smirk off your face.

I slathered it on. It spreads so you only need a few drops! I wondered. Will this burn my skin? Will I get zits? Will someone try to put me in their salad?

So far it works great! My skin is so not dry! And, ok, I'm not kidding when I say "not dry". It takes a while to soak in. Like, hours. I imagine this might interfere with one's makeup, if one wears makeup.
I am confident, however, that as a preeminent trendsetter, I will be the envy of all and soon it will be unfashionable, embarrassing even, to appear in public without an oily sheen to one's face.

It's official. Olive oil is now my official facial lotion - and body lotion and foot lotion, too! If bio-diesel cars can leave a trail of odeur de vegetable oil their wake, why can't I?

Jar of cheap lotion: 99 cents
Jar of expensive lotion: $500
Olive oil: 99 cents
Savings: $0 to $499

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Dandelion: Worthless Weed or Delicious Dinner?

Dear Cheapsakte,

You're so smart, you clever thing! Yes, dandelions are edible and delicious!

Do you carefully cultivate your garden only to have slugs eat your lettuce? Do you dig, plant, fertilize, water, and toil, only to reap a few lousy green beans? Do you make grueling trips to the tool lending library for trimmers and diggers? Grow dandelions!

Is it difficult to grow dandelions? What special equipment is needed? A crack! All you need is a freaking crack in the concrete. Do nothing. No watering. Nothing. And there's your dinner.
Guess what! It's tasty. Eat the flowers and everything. Why make a trip to the store and waste $5.99 on spring salad when you can simply pluck your greens from the driveway for free?

What other urban weeds are edible? Do you know??? There must be a ton. Let's forage!

UPDATE: Whole Foods SELLS dandelion greens for $2.99 a bunch!!!