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Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Photo Tutorial for Melt and Pour Soap

This serves as an update and follow up to my post entitled Steal My Idea: Stocking stuffers for charges at $2 from Dollar Tree.

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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

My Reaction to Extreme Cheapscates

Because someone on /r/frugal asked, here are my thoughts about the TLC show Extreme Cheapscates:

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Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Steal My Idea: Stocking stuffers for charges at $2 from Dollar Tree.

This post is just a photo tutorial. An updated post with words will follow once I have the time to type it.

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Sunday, July 1st, 2012

[Backpacking] Free Water Scoop

I have often heard that if you bring soft-sided bottles (Platypus, Evernew, etc.) as your drinking bottles when you go backpacking, it can be hard to fill them up with water at times. People advocate bringing water scoops, such as the bottom half or bottom third of the same type of bottle you are using.

I found something cheaper. The bottom half or bottom third of a Bac-Os package. Not only does it fold flat, but it has the same cup shape when filled with water. And even better, it comes filled with Bac-Os when you buy it. Which, if you read this post, you know you are in for a gastronomic treat. Plus if you make the recipe, then you get delicious food with a free water scoop as an added bonus.

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Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

[Frugal Camping] Why you should shop REI Garage Sales

One year, REI sold a bunch of their store brand tents with a glued-in "porthole window" in the rain fly. Not surprisingly, the glue does not hold up to the tests of time, and so the windows started peeling away, leaving people with a very big hole in their rain fly. So, people have been returning the tents. Tents they spent over $200 for, new.

These tents - usually lacking any other flaw - are appearing at garage sales priced between $15 and $30. A piece of waterproof fabric (vinyl from a popped pool float, sil nylon, tyvek from a used mailing envelope, etc.) and the ability to sew and seam seal and you've got yourself a super cheap tent.

I live the advice I offer:

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Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Backpacking/Camping/Frugal/Lunch Recipe

If you toss three packets of Taco Bell sauce - doesn't really matter what flavor - into a foil tuna packet, and then eat it on top of knock-off-brand Ritz crackers, it is pretty tasty! And cleanup is a breeze.

Also, all variations of this cheesy bacony pasta recipe are delicious. I made it with TVP bacos, whole wheat rotini, and garlic paste and it has earned a stable place on my regular backpacking menu!
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Monday, January 16th, 2012

Frugal Ways to Feed Your Reading Habit

The first most absolutely frugal way to feed your voracious reading habit is to visit your local library. If your book appetite is so high that you are even looking for a frugal solution for it, then for sure you will be able to finish a book before its due date. Help keep libraries in business by actually using them.

Most Strongly Raised Objection: But I want to read [insert latest book title here] and my library has a waiting list.

Solution: Exercise your patience. In the mean time, see if you can find an undiscovered gem among the stacks. The only reason [that book] is so hot is that someone discovered it. Be a discoverer.


The second most frugal way to feed your voracious reading habit is to invest in a device that allows you to read eBooks. This can be something as complex as a dedicated eBook reader {Kobo, Nook, Kindle; listed in order of most formats supported to least} or you might be able to multipurpose a piece of technology you already own {smart phone, computer, dusting off the old Handspring or Palm Pilot that you were saving "just because"}.

Aside: On almost every device you can imagine, there is a MobiPocket Reader program that allows you to read books in a file whose format ends in .mobi. There is a MobiPocket reader for Nokia smartphones, a MobiPocket reader for WindowsMobile smart phones, a MobiPocket Reader for old Handspring PDAs, and a MobiPocket Reader for old Palm Pilots just to name a few oddball pieces of technology that you wouldn't believe could read eBooks. If you are wondering if you can actually use [that device you are looking at quizzically] to read eBooks, google its name + MobiPocket Reader and see if it is possible.

You can always drop by a website like ManyBooks where you can grab all of the free Project Gutenberg titles {Picture of Dorian Gray, everything by Jules Verne, Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes galore, 1001 Arabian Nights, Pride and Prejudice ... but no zombies} your heart desires, but also some other books that you didn't even know you wanted to read.

But, what if you want to be on the cutting edge of discovering that next great new writer? Well, it is a bit of a numbers game as you have to kiss a lot of frogs, so to speak, before you find a prince, but you can always offer yourself and your blog {you have a blog, right?} up to be a book reviewer.

If you offer yourself as a book reviewer, authors, editors, and publicists start sending you manuscripts to read and review. Most of these come in the form of eBooks. And then you fulfill your half of the bargain by reading and reviewing the books. You aren't required to give a positive review, but you are required to note that you were provided with a copy of the manuscript for free.

So, where do you meet these people so willing to provide you with manuscripts? Right here.

Most strongly raised objection: I don't like reading on a screen.

Solution: This suggestion isn't for you, then. Alas.


The third, and least frugal, solution to your voracious reading needs is to join a book exchange service such as PaperBackSwap. I like PaperBackSwap more than any of the other services because it tends to have, as members, people who respect the physical condition of the books as much as you do. That isn't to say that you won't see dogeared pages or cracked spines, but you will see books that are in generally good, readable condition. I've been on Swap.com and BookMooch and some of the things that are sent to me {front cover ripped off, pages that have fallen out and are simply tucked into the package, pages that have fallen out and are missing altogether, crayon scribblings on many pages, stains of many colors} make me cringe. If I'm paying the cost of shipping to send or receive a book, then by golly what I want is something that I can read in its entirety without fear of hepatitis. And the cost of using all of those services are the same so why wouldn't I want to go with the one that gives me the most decently treated books?

Most Strongly Raised Objection: The book I want has a waiting list.

Solution: Add yourself to that waiting list {called a wish list}, but also check out your local library. See which source can provide the book first.

Order a Hanspring Visor on eBay {don't pay over $30 incl. shipping} | Join PaperBackSwap {it is FREE} |
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Friday, November 4th, 2011

[Free] 10 Holiday Photo Cards

Since Halloween just happened, that of course means we skip over Thanksgiving entirely and go straight to Christmas, right? Normally I'd be the first to bash anyone for doing that, but this (link) lovely promotion for 10 free holiday photo cards suggests that you might want to take advantage of it even as you eschew Christmas creep in all other areas of your life.

Freebies are cool. Sponsoring a Dragon Boat racer is cooler!
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Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

[Free] Bacardi Oakheart Stein

Thanks to this post on Reddit's Freebies Sub-Reddit I applied to win/earn/be gifted with a free glass stein from Bacardi that advertises its new Oakheart alcohol. It took me two attempts before I was informed that I had won a stein by being one of the first 5000 to try that week.

A few weeks later, this arrives in my mailbox:

Thanks Bacardi!
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Thursday, October 20th, 2011

[Free] L'Occitane Hand Cream

A few weeks ago, I was treated to this announcement that if you "like" L'Occitane on Facebook, you can earn a voucher for a free tube of Shea Butter hand cream. Of course, the first thing I did upon reading that was to head on over to Facebook and click the "like" button.

Originally it was for a very small sample of the hand cream, with the caveat being that earning 250,000 "like"s would upgrade you to a full fluid ounce (30 mL) of shea butter hand cream. As it so happened, L'Occitane met their goal and so started to disburse vouchers for the hand cream, which also contained a 15% off coupon for anything else purchased at the same time.

Naturally, I went to the mall to cash my voucher in and walked away with

(Free L'Occitane hand cream.)

I had never tried L'Occitane's products aside from the liquid soap provided on international flights and the small bottle of body wash that I somehow got in a holiday gift basket lo those many years ago. This hand cream is FANTASTIC. Once my free sample runs out, I am sure to purchase a new tube (though this one in Lavendar) to replace it. I now have a new, go to hand cream/body lotion.

Thanks L'Occitane! Your promotion has done what it was designed to do: convert a noncustomer into a customer.

For the rest of you, if you go to the L'Occitane Facebook page, you can still "like" the site to - in two weeks - receive your own voucher for free hand cream.


I just saved you $10. Don't you think that is worth a $1 tip?
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