Monday, February 9, 2009

More thrifty tips

Time for more thrifty tips! I know you're waiting on the edge of your seat.  : )

As you know, I love, love my clothesline. However, it does have one teeeensey drawback. Let me elaborate: in the winter, because I keep our thermostat low, we wear layers. Hubby's favorite pullovers are fleece. When I dry his fleece sweaters on the clothesline, they don't get rid of their lint, as they would in a dryer. And if I do fluff them in the dryer, his fleece items come out SO static-y. I didn't want to get dryer sheets - I'd done that before, and though I cut them into halves or thirds, I knew there had to be a better (more frugal) way. I decided to try a little tip I picked up somewhere (and don't ask me where, because I can't remember the source.) (Edited to add: I found it! Frugal Upstate!)

I filled a disposable food container with a mixture of 1/3 liquid fabric softener and 2/3 water. Then, I took a couple of large sponges, cut them into cubes, and put them in the liquid. I throw one cube in with any laundry that needs a toss in the dryer, and needs to be static-free. I keep a lid on them usually (except for blog pictures) because I don't want to lose any of my concoction to evaporation! I also used the store brand, generic, unscented fabric softener. After going without scents in my laundry for so long, those artificial smells REEK of chemicals to me. So this is a nice little compromise. 

And since I'm writing about keeping frugal despite winter's curveballs, here's another tip. 

As I've mentioned before, we drink our fair share of (decaf) coffee in the winter. Keeping the warm drinks coming helps me keep the thermostat low. In the interest of getting rid of as many paper products as we can, Hubby and I switched some time ago to a reusable coffee filter. Here's what it looks like: 

I found the filter at my grocery store. Keep in mind that if you purchase one, it may be labeled a "gold filter." I know there are some that have gold in the filter (it's supposed to work better), but mine is just... some kind of black metal. It was cheaper (and NOT labeled a "gold filter.") I think I purchased mine for $4.99. How much does a package of disposable filters cost, anyway? And if you want unbleached filters, they're even more! By using my reusable filter, I never have anything to throw away after making coffee. (Because I put my used grounds in my compost bin, of course.) 

Last tip: to further reduce my coffee costs, I reuse my grounds. When I first read about this tip in The Tightwad Gazette, I thought it sounded a bit questionable. I'm glad I tried it! After I make a pot of coffee, I pour myself a cup, put the rest in my thermos, unplug the pot, but I don't compost my grounds yet! The next time I make coffee, I put half of the first recipe's amount back in the filter, on top of the used grounds. So if I used 4 scoops for my first pot of coffee, I reuse those grounds, just adding 2 more scoops. I use the same amount of water as I used in the first batch. The result is that I get another pot of coffee using half the grounds, and it tastes exactly the same.  

So there you go! Go forth and be thrifty!

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