Showing posts with label frugality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugality. Show all posts

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Save Money by Using an Egg Substitute...Flax Meal

This post is somewhat inspired by this morning's breakfast, oatmeal raisin pancakes.

As a family we try to limit our consumption of animal products. This is not only for health reasons, but it is also a money saver. We do eat eggs from time to time but when we do we usually spend a little more for higher quality organic eggs from Costco for about $0.28 an egg. Most people pay closer to $2.00 a dozen or $0.166 an egg.

You can easily get that price per "egg" down to $0.036 (between 3 and 4 cents) per egg by using a simple and effective flax meal substitute. I came to that price per egg by taking the price of a regular bag of organic flax meal and dividing by the number of servings. I guess you could round up to 4 cents to account for the price of the water you will use, but it wouldn't even equal that four thousandths of a dollar.

Anyway, here's how you do it for one egg!

In a small bowl mix a tablespoon of flax meal with three tablespoons of warm water.
Let it sit for about 3 minutes.

Stick a fork in it because it's done! (don't actually stick a fork in it).

It will look like this.

We use this as a substitute in all kinds of recipes that include baking, cooking etc.

We have also used a hybrid for some things that need that super strong binding ability of eggs in which we will use one flax meal substitute egg and an actual egg. However, we find that this quick trick works really well for daily uses and it saves us money while givings us a wider range on nutrients.

The health benefits of flax meal are wonderful as it is very high in fiber and in essential fatty acids.

Here is a great blog with much more information about flax in general by Kitchen Stewardship:

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Get Yourself a Cooler for Traveling!

So here's a quick money saving trick that saves us hundreds of dollars annually; using a cooler when traveling or staying somewhere over night!

My wife and I tend to travel often. Both for short family vacations and traveling to see family members. We don't live in the same areas as our parents so we seem to be on the road frequently.

When I was growing up we would always stop at fast food or a gas station to load up of drinks and snacks whenever we were on the road, even if it was just a hour drive to where we were going. As we started our own family we decided that was way too expensive and impractical.

We now have a little travel cooler that goes with us whenever we travel. Here is a link to the one we have (although we did not pay this much for it): . When heading out on the road some things that are often packed are, but are not limited to...

Soups in Containers (can heat with microwaves at gas stations)
Pre made pasta dishes (can heat with microwaves at gas stations)
Water (in reusable bottle that you can fill at gas stations)
Homemade Iced Tea
Sandwiches (Canned tuna or salmon mixed with avocado are our favorite for the road)
Salsa for chips and salsa
Hummus and Veggies

and many more...

It costs less than $10 to fill that cooler with enough food for a meal and snacks easily and we are not spending money on needless drinks at the gas station.

If on a longer vacation make sure to hit up a grocery store when possible to replenish. When we're traveling we really like finding a Trader Joe's to stock back up on our fruit and veggies. Also, we've had some great luck getting free ice when stopping because we show the cooler to gas station attendants and tell them we'd be wasting a lot of ice if we have to purchase a bag. In the worst of cases they'll charge 50 cents.

All of the ways we've used the cooler to save money:
Overnight at the hospital
On the road
Overnight at a family or friend's home
To the park
Running errands all day
All day sporting event
Overnight in a hotel without a fridge

Make sure to check out this LINK for tips on packing and some great road-trip recipes. 

You can also use it to incubate your homemade yogurt (look for how to in a later post)

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Plastic Debate...

So as a money saver I do enjoy catching Dave Ramsey on the radio from time to time to hear what he has to say. Obviously, this guy has some aspects of his program that really work for people. If you do not know who he is you can check him out here: He's all about becoming debt free, and in general, I agree with his message!

One aspect I have heard of his program on the radio is to have people stay away from plastic, i.e. credit cards and debit cards. There is a ton of research that states that people do tend to spend more compulsively when using plastic and I believe it in terms of the general public. However, there are some great advantages to using plastic as well.


1) Instead of cayring a bunch of cash around it is much safer to carry around a card or two. If stolen or lost you can deactivate them and they are widely accepted.

2) Many credit cards and debit cards offer reward programs. For me, I make around $50/month in credit card rewards depending on what type of promotion is offered for the particular month. Right now the 5% cash back with my Chase card is for groceries and I am going to buy those regardless. The Chase Freedom card has worked very well for us

3) If you have a disputed charge with a credit card you can simply call the company and they are likely to work with you. For example, friends of ours bought furniture from Ashley furniture that arrived damaged. They returned the furniture Ashley wouldn't work for them on a full refund After calling Chase our friend's payment was stopped and they were not charged.

4) It is really the only safe way to make purchases online and there are vast savings to be had on the world wide web.

5) With some rewards programs you can get gift certificates worth more than the cash back would be worth which are great for when you need to eat out when traveling or giving as gifts.

6) It builds credit if you use them responsibly.

7) It is easy to save purchase information by just checking your account on-line or on an app on your phone. For me this organizational ability great.

Some tips for not overspending using credit cards.

1) NEVER CARRY A BALANCE!!! I went all caps there on purpose. It defeats the whole purpose if you are using it as a payday loan.

2) Move cash from one account to another as you make purchases. Have the second account set up as the automatic payment account for your credit card and then you are only spending cash that you do have.

3) Pay monthly bills that have to be paid anyway automatically with credit cards. Heat and electricity are prime examples. You might as well take the kick back that you would not get if paying out of your checking account.

4)Do not keep it in your wallet if you are a super compulsive shopper. Bring it with you for outings to the grocery store and only buy items that are on your list.

5) Have only a couple of credit cards that are different. Do not get two different Visa cards as they may not both be accepted everywhere. I personally break this rule a little as I have two credit cards that are Visas and two debit cards that are Master Card (more to come on the debit cards later).

All in all, for the right user credit cards are great secure ways to make purchases. Like anything, they do take some will power. For me personally, I feel it just as much if I swipe the card as if I pay cash because I know and understand that they are all coming from the same pot of money. If your self control is in place credit cards can actually be a way to save money and work on becoming more frugal!

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