How to Make Cayenne Powder

How to Make Cayenne Pepper Flakes

We love growing our own peppers.  This year we included Cayenne peppers, which are beautiful, very prolific plants.

We had fun going out to the garden and looking for the bright red peppers, picking them, then hanging them on the “pepper lines” to dry.  The pepper lines consisted of  two lengths of yarn stretching across my sewing room.  We would hang each pepper on the line with a clothespin, leaving them there until they felt dry and you could hear the seeds rattling inside.

How to Make Cayenne Powder

Towards the end of the season, we even picked the peppers that were still green, so we wouldn’t loose them to the frost.  They dried well, too.

How to Make Cayenne Powder

We had a coffee grinder that we use for grinding spices.  We broke the peppers so they would fit into the grinder

How to Make Cayenne Powder

and then ground them into fine flakes.  (Grind longer for a powder)

How to Make Cayenne Powder

We keep them in a canning jar (because we have a lot of them) and store them in the cupboard.

How to Make Cayenne Powder

Because there are no “anti-caking” chemicals added, I sometimes have to give it a quick shake before I use it.

Now we have LOTS of Cayenne pepper to use in our recipes!!

BENEFITS:

  • Satisfaction of growing your own spice
  • Depth of flavor you can’t get in the store
  • No chemical additive
  • Saving money

Cayenne pepper flakes are generally sold in 1.5 oz containers, for about $1.25.  I have approximately 12 oz for $2.00 worth of seed!

MONEY SAVED: $8.00!

🙂

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Homesteading Reference Library

A Physical Reference Library

Few things beat experience, but a good reference library can be a good back-up for the times you need a little more information.

I love reading and have my Kindle filled with all sorts of eBooks.  I’ve read dozens of books on gardening, homesteading, and husbandry, but  it soon became clear to me that certain books were going to be needed in their physical form, for easy referencing.

Thus, began my reference library.

Homesteading Reference Library

As the name of my blog implies, I am a frugal person, so I wasn’t about to pay full price for these books and I also didn’t care if they were used.  I researched the books I wanted and made a wishlist on Amazon, so I wouldn’t forget the titles. From there, I would periodically check Amazon and eBay for those titles to see if anyone was selling them used, at reasonable prices.

It took me some time and a lot of patience, but I did score all of the books I wanted for what I consider really good prices.  Even with the shipping.  I bought a used copy of an older edition to save even more money.  I’ve been very pleased with the used condition of the books and I know the information contained within them will be valuable to me for many years to come.

Here are some of my favorites:

Homesteading Reference Library

This is an instance where I’m saving money and making a good investment.

I’m paying for an education. 🙂

BENEFITS:

  • Information from accredited sources
  • Background knowledge to help you avoid mistakes
  • Know-how that will help you live better
  • Cheap education

My used books have been found at thrift stores (thanks to my husband), on Amazon and eBay.  Even when I have to pay a bit more for one, it’s ok, because I’ve gotten others for only $1.00.  It all evens out.

If I had gotten all these books new, it would have cost me $345.57.  I spent $56.00!

MONEY SAVED: 289.57!!

🙂

Saving Money on Razors

Saving Money on Razors

A couple months ago, I was having a conundrum.

I was down to my last razor and needed to get more.  The cost of disposable razors makes me furious and the thought of adding more items to the landfill makes me crazy.

It was time to stop and think of an alternative.

I thought back to my teenage years and remembered my dad giving me one of his old safety razors.  A metal safety razor and a box of double edge razor blades will last for years.

That’s it!  A perfect solution!

Saving Money on Razors

I use the blades until they don’t comfortably shave anymore, then they get transferred to a utility razor blade holder for odd jobs around the house and garage.  When they’ve outlived their usefulness, they will be put in a can and turned in to a recycling center for hazardous materials.

I also found a recipe for Homemade Shaving Cream that I really like:

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup Castile soap

Just stir it up and put into a pump bottle or jar.  You can also add a few drops of essential oils to make it smell nice!

I’ve been happy with my decision to switch to safety razors and I would recommend you give it a try.  🙂

BENEFITS:

  • Saving money
  • Keeping items out of the landfill
  • Using shaving cream without chemicals
  • Multi-purposing razor blades

A nice safety razor costs about $20.00 and a box of 100 razor blades costs around $9.80.   A decent, disposable razor costs an average of $3.00 each.  To buy that many disposables would be $300.00, but I only spent $29.80!

MONEY SAVED:  $270.20!!

🙂

Yarn Slipper Booties

Make Your Own Yarn Slipper Booties

Every year when there is a nip in the air, I start thinking about knitting more slipper booties for the winter!  I make myself 3 new pairs every fall and enjoy wearing them throughout the fall and winter.

I have a set of knitting looms and I use the smallest loop to make a basic tube-type slipper that I wear over my socks in the winter, to keep my feet nice and toasty warm.

Yarn Slipper Booties

Yarn can be expensive, but if you check the thrift stores on a regular basis, you can usually find some pretty good buys.  I like finding full skeins of yarn, but I will also buy left-over balls of yarn in varying sizes.  All of it works and it makes some wonderfully beautiful patterns.

Yarn Slipper Booties

Yarn Slipper Booties

For my super warm booties, I use two skeins of yarn, so I’m knitting two strings at once.  I just keep going around the loom until the slipper looks big enough, then tie it off and start on the next one.  For the second slipper, I just compare the size to the first one.  Nothing fancy, just warm!

BENEFITS:

  • Making something for yourself or others
  • Using what you have on hand
  • Saving money
  • Leisurely pastime that is also benificial

Hand made booties on Etsy are around $20.00 per pair.  I make mine with thrift store yarn that I get for $1.00 per skein.  I don’t count my time, because it’s an enjoyable hobby that I do for relaxation.

MONEY SAVED:  $18.00 x 3 = $54.00!

🙂

How to Make a Re-Purposed Clothespin Bag

I remember, as a child, hanging clothes on the clothesline and watching them flutter and whip in the wind as they dried.  I would run between the rows of clothes, enjoying the fresh smell and trying to catch them as they tossed back and forth in front of me.  The same fresh smell would lull me to sleep that night as I laid snuggled between the crisp sheets.

Make a Re-Purposed Clothespin Bag

Remembering how wonderful line dried clothes smell and feel, made me want to have a clothesline again.  Since I’m planning on getting one, I thought it would be fun to make a special clothespin holder.

I went looking around the house for something that would work and it dawned on me that the simplest solution would be to make one out of a shirt!

I found an old cotton blouse.  It’s like what my mom and grandma use to wear, and was from about the same time period as the photo above.  (More memories!)

Here’s how I did it.

Make a Re-Purposed Clothespin Bag

How to Make a Re-purposed Clothespin Bag:

  • Find a sleeveless shirt and turn it inside out.
  • Cut it off about half way up
  • Sew it straight across.
  • When you turn it right side out again, hang it on any standard hanger and fill it with your clothespins.
  • You can access clothespins from the top or the sides!
  • To wash it, just take it off the hanger and dump your pins out.

How much easier can you get?

BENEFITS:

  • Re-purposing something you already have
  • Making what you need
  • Adding your own style
  • Making something that gives you fond memories

Hand made clothespin bags average about $20.00. Since I shop in thrift stores, I had gotten this blouse for $1.00!

Money Saved $19.00!!

🙂

101-uses-for-salt

101 Uses for Salt

101 Uses For Salt

As you may or may not know, we are antique and collectible dealers.  Every once in a while we’ll come across something from the past that is very interesting and is still useful today.  My hubby bought a bunch of old pamphlets and I wanted to share one of them with you.  It is from 1926, has beautiful illustrations and helpful information on the many uses of salt.

I’m putting the entire pamphlet on.  Since it’s from 1926, I’m guessing I’m not infringing on any copyrights.

Since salt is still cheap, if it has 101 practical uses, why not make the most of it?

Some of the uses are pretty standard, but there are a few that surprised me.  Please use your best judgement in trying any of these, remembering that things are very different now, than in the 1920s.

Hope you enjoy the pamphlet from 1926 and that you can find a few good tips to use!

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

Benefits:

  • Salt is cheap
  • Using one simple ingredient in may different ways
  • Discovering new ways to use something you always have on hand

MONEY SAVED:

I’m not sure how to count the savings on this one.  However, in a year’s time, with 101 uses, I bet you could save $101.00!!

🙂

seed-saving-and-frugal-gardening

Seed Saving and Frugal Gardening

Seed saving is a frugal and empowering way to garden.

You plant a seed, care for it, watch it grow, enjoy your bounty and in the end, you are presented with more seeds, to start all over again.

You hold in your hands the circle of life!

Seed saving and frugal gardening

For the price of one packet of seeds, you can continue growing that variety for years to come, just by collecting and saving the seeds.  After the first year, I consider the seeds for each following year to be free because of the money I saved growing that veggie and not having to buy it in the store.  Between saved seeds, free seeds and seeds I find on sale, my veggie garden costs me next to nothing every year.  Plus, I can grow way more plants than I could afford to buy.

I have been saving peas and beans for years.  The peas and beans are eaten by us and put into my homemade dog food recipe Doggy Stew, so those free seeds are paying big dividends.

You may also have friends, family or neighbors who grow outstanding varieties you might like to try.  Trading seeds is an even cheaper way to garden!

Seed saving can also be done with flowers, of course.  I grow a TON of Zinnias every year from saved seeds.  I enjoy the bright, cheerful Zinnias and they attract lots of bees, that in turn, pollinate my veggies!  I also grow Geraniums and Petunias from seed.

Seed saving and frugal gardening

Seed saving and frugal gardening

Seed saving and frugal gardening

Some seeds need to be started indoors, prior to planting outside. Starting seedlings is a bit of trial and error, as anyone who has ever tried it, will know.  In spite of a few failures and disappointments, it is the most amazing feeling to collect tomatoes from a tomato plant that reaches up to your chin, and know that you started it from a tiny seed!  That feeling is worth a million bucks!

Speaking of tomato plants; they can be really expensive too.  I saved big money this year by starting mine from seed , plus I had extra plants to give away and sell.  So, I’m not just saving money, I’m also making money!

There are many good websites explaining how to collect various seeds, so I won’t go into that, but  if you are excited to try, start with something easy like Zinnias, beans or peas. Beans and peas are easy to collect seeds from; just let them dry on the plant.  When they are dry, crack open the pods and keep the seeds.  Zinnias are easy too.  Just cut the heads off the plant after they have lost their brightness and start to turn brown.  If they feel a little moist, lay them on a screen (like in the photo below) until they feel dry.  I keep mine in paper bags over the winter and come Spring, I break the heads apart and collect the seeds!

seed-saving-and-frugal-gardening

Take note:  Hybrid plants are a cross of two different varieties.  The seeds will not grow true to the parent.  Save Heirloom or standard seeds to get the same variety you started with.

I hope I’ve convinced you to try some seed saving.  I go a bit overboard with it, myself.  I find it hard to throw dead plants when I know there are seeds there, free for the taking.  I think to myself, “I can’t throw these, they will grow!”

Seed saving and frugal gardening

BENEFITS:

  • Saving lots of money
  • Learning a valuable skill
  • Creating varieties that grow the best in your area
  • Sharing seeds with others
  • Sharing plants you grow from your seeds

MONEY SAVED ANNUALLY:

$235.00!!!

🙂