Author Topic: Things you thought would be frugal but arent  (Read 47973 times)

MgoSam

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #100 on: October 28, 2014, 01:49:48 PM »
homebrewing of beer. Way more expensive than just buying on sale.

Beer goes on sale? I don't think I've seen many sales that save more than a few pennies.

If you drink craft beer, you can indeed save a bunch of money. Prairie Artisan Ales have some that cost $8+ per 12 ounce bottle! No way I'm buying that. And now that I have all the equipment (probably $600 in equipment including the freezer) I might as well make the other stuff too. This guy brews for $12.25 in ingredients per 5 gallons.

Well its no $12.25/5 gallons, but our local liquor store usually sells 6 packs of good microbrews for $8.99 and usually has one on sale for $6.99. Every time I've looked at homebrewing, the kit is $150, the cleaning supplies are about $.10/bottle and the bottle caps plus ingredients end up about $0.75/bottle if I'm frugal. So I'd end up needing to store all of that fermenting beer and equipment and my cost per bottle would be just a little lower than the 6 packs from the store (and their beer tastes better). If you get the equipment to keg your own beer, I'm sure its cheaper to homebrew, but I don't want all of that equipment around my house.
There are ways to save on cleaners and sanitizers mostly involving eBay that I won't go into here, but it's much less than $.10/bottle. $20 of star san and pbw gets me through a year or so.

Last night I brewed a clone of this from a recipe I got from the brewery itself, so should be close, for $.70/bottle in ingredients and cleaning/bottling supplies (I'll get around 53 bottles.) That's a savings of $3.29/bottle at a cost of equipment and several hours time, on a recipe that is heavy on grain and hops. My payback period is short with beers like this. Things like boulevard 80 acre I'm better off buying, though I may make/alter for my own amusement.

YMMV, from the sounds of it you've determined you're better off buying the occasional 6-pack and that's just fine by me. I suggest staying away if you don't want a new hobby, all told it's around 6 hours of work for a batch of beer.

That is a great point, another homebrewer here, I haven't brewed in over a year but while I enjoyed it and hope to do so again when I have more space and time to do so, I didn't find it all that cost-effective, but my reasoning was that when I make a full batch (about 54 beers), I was more prone to drink them than when I was going and pick up a 6 pack every so often. So while I was saving money per unit, my expenses (and caloric intake) were not spared.

Lizzy B.

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #101 on: October 30, 2014, 07:04:38 AM »
I don't brew, I'm more into wine and "wine", but I've found that making our own is definitely cost effective. Even with the cost of equipment, per bottle costs for wine usually hover around $6 and per bottle costs for "wine" (things like fermented lemonade) are about $3. At that point, it's almost exclusively the cost of the original equipment and the labeling and corks.

Of course, we drink a lot more than we would if we had to buy... Not sure how to quantify that, though.

seanc0x0

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #102 on: October 30, 2014, 08:39:26 AM »
I don't brew, I'm more into wine and "wine", but I've found that making our own is definitely cost effective. Even with the cost of equipment, per bottle costs for wine usually hover around $6 and per bottle costs for "wine" (things like fermented lemonade) are about $3. At that point, it's almost exclusively the cost of the original equipment and the labeling and corks.

Of course, we drink a lot more than we would if we had to buy... Not sure how to quantify that, though.

How do you calculate your costs? They seem higher than most I've seen and higher than my own experience, so I'm curious.  From kits I can usually manage under $3/bottle, while for non-kit stuff it varies considerably, but my meads are usually around $1.50 (unless I get fancy-pants with fruit or spices).

Lizzy B.

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #103 on: October 31, 2014, 08:01:15 AM »
Quote
How do you calculate your costs? They seem higher than most I've seen and higher than my own experience, so I'm curious.  From kits I can usually manage under $3/bottle, while for non-kit stuff it varies considerably, but my meads are usually around $1.50 (unless I get fancy-pants with fruit or spices).

I have a spreadsheet where I total all equipment, chemicals, packaging (we get bottles from friends, but put printed labels and foil shrink wraps on each bottle to dress them up), and materials and then divide by the total number of bottles I've made. The benefit of this is that fixed costs (like the equipment) get factored in too.

My material costs are usually around 3 bucks/bottle like you said (unless I get a fancy one), but I haven't made enough batches to bring the per batch equipment costs low. The good news is the more I make, the cheaper each batch is!

I actually haven't updated that spreadsheet for a while. It's probably time to recalculate that since my equipment costs seem really high, but it's just the very basics... I'll take a look and update.

Ftao93

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #104 on: October 31, 2014, 08:11:29 AM »
Something I thought would be immediately frugal but wasn't:

Going scooter/motorcycle only.

Sure, gas and insurance are cheap.  However buying gear to be comfortable/safe and the initial class costs were a bit bigger than I thought.

The other part is that it's so much fun you find yourself running 'errands' far away just because you get 80mpg :P.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #105 on: October 31, 2014, 08:24:54 PM »
Homemade cake for my husband's birthday cost like $12-$14 just in ingredients (called for a pound each of cream cheese and butter, among other things).

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #106 on: November 13, 2014, 10:16:27 AM »
Tacos. 

Assemble the following:
1 x frying pan (~8"+) - a cast iron skillet is good
Paper towels
Corn oil
Tongs
Floppy uncooked corn taco tortillas
Taco fillings of your choice

Lay out some paper towels. Pour enough corn oil into the frying pan so it's a little over 1/4" deep. Turn the heat to medium.  Heat the oil to when you see lots of tiny bubbles forming and try to keep it at that temperature.  Using the tongs, put your first taco shell into the oil.  It should sizzle nicely.  Let it do that for a few seconds then, using the tongs, flip it over.  Push on it with the tongs so you can tell it's starting to stiffen up. When it does, gently fold the taco shell over with the tongs and hold it in the oil in place and alternating sides. From here you have a choice. You can cook the tortilla in the oil until it becomes really stiff like a Taco Hell taco. This takes about 30 seconds to a minute or so.  Set it on the paper towels to drain and repeat the process till you have as many taco shells as you want.  If you like taco shells that won't dump their contents on your lap at the first bite, just pull the taco shells out of the oil a little bit earlier so they're soft and flexible.  Give each shell about a minute to cool/drain then fill it with your taco filling goodness.  Cooking taco shells this way is obviously a bit of an art. But a reasonably smart person can figure it out after 3 to 5 unsatisfactory taco shells their first time.  The corn oil can also be reused several times. Just dump it in an old coffee can and cover it for next time.

DANGER: Do NOT let the oil reach a rolling boil.  If it does, remove it from the heat, let it cool down and start again.  When the oil gets that hot it's too hot for tacos, can burn you with the splatter, or boil over into the flames and light your kitchen on fire. Not fun. 

And for the love of God, do not go to Taco Hell.  Homemade tacos may not be cheaper or faster but they are tastier and you can trust your QA/QC on your fillings to keep you from running for "the border".

shawn77777

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #107 on: November 13, 2014, 07:07:44 PM »
Haven't seen candlemaking yet but it kinda expensive, couponing has never worked for me, gardening although I dont have a green thumb, homebuying, and anytime I moved....

BlueMR2

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #108 on: November 14, 2014, 04:53:11 PM »
Haven't seen candlemaking yet but it kinda expensive, couponing has never worked for me, gardening although I dont have a green thumb, homebuying, and anytime I moved....

Yeah, good point...  We tried the candlemaking thing too.  Definitely a losing proposition compared to dollar store candles!  Gardening, another disaster for us, we can't seem to make anything survive (although, at least part of the problem is the ground).  2 feet of sand, then solid clay underneath that.  Really need to get some good topsoil going before we try gardening again...

dragoncar

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #109 on: November 14, 2014, 09:01:02 PM »
Haven't seen candlemaking yet but it kinda expensive, couponing has never worked for me, gardening although I dont have a green thumb, homebuying, and anytime I moved....

Yeah, good point...  We tried the candlemaking thing too.  Definitely a losing proposition compared to dollar store candles!  Gardening, another disaster for us, we can't seem to make anything survive (although, at least part of the problem is the ground).  2 feet of sand, then solid clay underneath that.  Really need to get some good topsoil going before we try gardening again...

Candle making makes complete sense.  Your wax source already has to creat a liquid wax... It's no cheaper for them to mold it into a block than to pour it into a glass.

On a related note, I've found grindingly own ground beef doesn't seem  to save any money!

clarkfan1979

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #110 on: November 15, 2014, 06:52:04 AM »
I thought a brand new economy car was frugal (Honda fit, Hyundai Accent). I would pay cash and then drive it for 10-12 years. Now I buy a car that is 10 years old and drive it 5-6 years. Instead of 15K-20K for new, a used car is around 5K. Then I take the 10K-15K of savings and put it into the stock market.

 

defenestrate

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #111 on: November 15, 2014, 10:28:14 PM »
Buying a quarter cow.  In this area the only way to get a reasonable price per pound on organic grassfed beef is buying quarter or half cows.  I found only one vendor (we are in a remote-ish location) and since his individual steaks and other meats were wonderful, I figured it would be good quality.  Sadly all the premium steaks in the lot are tougher than nails.  I am afraid to even try the stew and kabob meats. 

The hamburger, roasts, organ meats and flank steaks are pretty good.  But the fancy cuts are terrible.  wah.

That's because it was grass fed. If you want really good beef, you have to get corn fed.

I disagree.  Grassfed>>corn fed.  But yes you will pay a premium for grassfed.  One other thing to consider about buying quarter/half cows is the freezer needed to store it.  Chest freezers are typically one of the larger energy sucks in a house.

The truth is that you can save a lot of money, and you can get great grassfed beef. I purchased a whole cow, but spent a year researching different ranches. Learn their forraging procedures, the breed, average hanging weight, and test their product. Ask questions about the processor--how long do they dry age, how will it be packaged, etc...

Takes work, and even if you need to pay a premium for the meat, it will make a big difference. Then think about how you will use the entire animal, bones, shanks, ofal, etc...

Even with the electricity bill, it will be less... and you will get a great product. a good place to start is eatwild.com

Exhale

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #112 on: November 16, 2014, 08:22:26 AM »
Haven't seen candlemaking yet but it kinda expensive, couponing has never worked for me, gardening although I dont have a green thumb, homebuying, and anytime I moved....

Yeah, good point...  We tried the candlemaking thing too.  Definitely a losing proposition compared to dollar store candles!  Gardening, another disaster for us, we can't seem to make anything survive (although, at least part of the problem is the ground).  2 feet of sand, then solid clay underneath that.  Really need to get some good topsoil going before we try gardening again...

Check out "square foot gardening" - great option.

coffeelover

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #113 on: November 16, 2014, 12:36:26 PM »
Redoing our kitchen counter tops with the giani counter top restoration kit.

I think I hate the final effect, plus the final coat even after 3 layers won't adhere right and it has streaks in it. (the clear coat)

Kit was 80 bucks, it's not like our counters were horrible but I wanted a change and something that looked more modern. Now i'm trying to find something to remove the granite paint wihout removing the actual counter top.

fml

AllChoptUp

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #114 on: November 17, 2014, 07:50:04 AM »
Redoing our kitchen counter tops with the giani counter top restoration kit.

I think I hate the final effect, plus the final coat even after 3 layers won't adhere right and it has streaks in it. (the clear coat)

Kit was 80 bucks, it's not like our counters were horrible but I wanted a change and something that looked more modern. Now i'm trying to find something to remove the granite paint wihout removing the actual counter top.

fml

Bummer! :( Would you post pix? Interested to see how it looks...maybe it's not that bad?

iris lily

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #115 on: November 17, 2014, 08:31:59 AM »
Buying a quarter cow.  In this area the only way to get a reasonable price per pound on organic grassfed beef is buying quarter or half cows.  I found only one vendor (we are in a remote-ish location) and since his individual steaks and other meats were wonderful, I figured it would be good quality.  Sadly all the premium steaks in the lot are tougher than nails.  I am afraid to even try the stew and kabob meats. 

The hamburger, roasts, organ meats and flank steaks are pretty good.  But the fancy cuts are terrible.  wah.

We've been getting home raised beef for decades from DH's father's farm. It's not "organic" and it's not grass fed. The prime cuts are lovely. The cows were treated nicely.

I wonder what's happening with yours? Is "grass fed" the problem?

iris lily

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #116 on: November 17, 2014, 08:34:47 AM »
Gardening is our expensive hobby, we don't do it to save any money. You all would be horrified at the length we go to produce flowers and vegetables. So, for us--no, it's not cheaper. And in some cases, to be honest, the produce doesn't even taste better. DH has yet to produce carrots that are better that those from the store. He FINALLY got the hang of onions, but it took a few years and we learned that yellow onions are not for our region.

coffeelover

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #117 on: November 18, 2014, 08:02:34 PM »
Redoing our kitchen counter tops with the giani counter top restoration kit.

I think I hate the final effect, plus the final coat even after 3 layers won't adhere right and it has streaks in it. (the clear coat)

Kit was 80 bucks, it's not like our counters were horrible but I wanted a change and something that looked more modern. Now i'm trying to find something to remove the granite paint wihout removing the actual counter top.

fml

Bummer! :( Would you post pix? Interested to see how it looks...maybe it's not that bad?

 I don't know if you can see it or not in the pics I've attached but IRL the streaks are very obvious from the final coat. Which I tried to do 3 times to get rid of the streaks. Waiting for it to dry each time.
So there are dull and shinier spots then others. Especially on the left side of the sink.

photo 4 is what the counters are originally the light brown.

Artemis67

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #118 on: November 18, 2014, 11:08:28 PM »
Redoing our kitchen counter tops with the giani counter top restoration kit.

I think I hate the final effect, plus the final coat even after 3 layers won't adhere right and it has streaks in it. (the clear coat)

Kit was 80 bucks, it's not like our counters were horrible but I wanted a change and something that looked more modern. Now i'm trying to find something to remove the granite paint wihout removing the actual counter top.

fml
I once painted ugly '80s-gray Formica countertops with a faux finish (done in latex house paint and artists' acrylics over oil-based Kilz, then sealed with a couple of coats of water-based polyurethane). I don't know what's in the kit you used, but I'd be surprised if it was all that much different.

Eventually, the counters got seedy-looking and needed re-painting, so I stripped them back down to the original gray with regular Jasco paint stripper (bought by the gallon at Home Depot), first.

It was a hell of a mess, but it got the job done, and didn't harm the Formica--or at least it did no further harm to it. I'd sanded the counters so the Kilz would adhere better, so it was never going to go back to looking new; I had no choice but to repaint. But at least I got a clean, smooth surface again.

AllChoptUp

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #119 on: November 19, 2014, 09:11:18 AM »
Coffeelover - I dunno, it looks okay to me from the pics, but they probably don't capture the streaking and shiny/not shiny effects that bother you. Oh well :(

OddOne

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #120 on: November 19, 2014, 09:42:36 AM »
Growing onions. They  take a long time before harvest, lots of space and water.

Inkedup

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #121 on: November 19, 2014, 09:52:56 AM »
Gardening is our expensive hobby, we don't do it to save any money. You all would be horrified at the length we go to produce flowers and vegetables. So, for us--no, it's not cheaper. And in some cases, to be honest, the produce doesn't even taste better. DH has yet to produce carrots that are better that those from the store. He FINALLY got the hang of onions, but it took a few years and we learned that yellow onions are not for our region.

The soil where I live is very rocky--stick a spade anywhere in the ground, and 9 times out of 10 you will hear a "clink." Barring harsh winters, I get good returns on perennial herbs, but I agree that the up-front costs for vegetables (and critter prevention) is often prohibitive. Now we do a CSA.   

coffeelover

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #122 on: November 19, 2014, 11:03:19 AM »
Redoing our kitchen counter tops with the giani counter top restoration kit.

I think I hate the final effect, plus the final coat even after 3 layers won't adhere right and it has streaks in it. (the clear coat)

Kit was 80 bucks, it's not like our counters were horrible but I wanted a change and something that looked more modern. Now i'm trying to find something to remove the granite paint wihout removing the actual counter top.

fml

I was actually thinking I was going to try paint thinner on a corner and see if it comes off. Your post gives me more confidence to try and redo it.

Thanks.
I once painted ugly '80s-gray Formica countertops with a faux finish (done in latex house paint and artists' acrylics over oil-based Kilz, then sealed with a couple of coats of water-based polyurethane). I don't know what's in the kit you used, but I'd be surprised if it was all that much different.

Eventually, the counters got seedy-looking and needed re-painting, so I stripped them back down to the original gray with regular Jasco paint stripper (bought by the gallon at Home Depot), first.

It was a hell of a mess, but it got the job done, and didn't harm the Formica--or at least it did no further harm to it. I'd sanded the counters so the Kilz would adhere better, so it was never going to go back to looking new; I had no choice but to repaint. But at least I got a clean, smooth surface again.

Artemis67

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #123 on: November 19, 2014, 09:51:36 PM »
Quote from: coffeelover
I was actually thinking I was going to try paint thinner on a corner and see if it comes off. Your post gives me more confidence to try and redo it.

Thanks.

Paint thinner won't do anything once the paint has thoroughly dried and cured. The one solvent that might cut it is acetone, but that's absolutely horrible stuff that should only ever be used when the job truly demands it (and this is not one of them).

Paint stripper is a very strong caustic, and not much fun to work with, but used with reasonable precautions it's fairly safe. Wear gloves, use eye protection (because yes, you will end up flicking a tiny bit into your eye if you don't), and make sure you've got decent ventilation. Mask off any nearby painted/finished surfaces with thin plastic (garbage bags cut open along the side seams worked fine for me), and put something down to protect the floor.

I used an old paintbrush to spread a generous coat of stripper on the upper surfaces of the counters, working one area at a time. Then I let it sit for about 20-30 minutes until the paint had bubbled up, letting the stripper do most of the work. Then I used a flexible steel putty knife to scrape up the bubbled paint, scraping the gloppy residue off the knife and into a small cardboard box. About 90% of the paint came off on the first pass.

On the second pass, I used less stripper, but glopped it on to stubborn areas as needed. I still used the putty knife on remaining thick spots, but scrubbing with a wet Scotch-Brite pad got the easy stuff. An old toothbrush may be useful for getting into any crevices. To finish, I took a clean Scotch-Brite pad and scrubbed the whole thing with powdered cleanser and water.

The edges of the counters, being vertical, will take a little extra effort because too much stripper will just slide off onto the floor. Brush a light coat on, wait for it to start blistering, then another light coat.

It's not difficult at all, but it's a yucky job, and you'll need to be very careful not to get stripper anywhere you don't want it. Cover the floor, and take care not to track spilled stripper into the rest of the house. Oh, and if you have pets, confine them until you're done and cleaned up; my big, dumb, derpmeister cat who had never jumped on a counter in his life decided that was the day to do it, and cleaning stripper out of his paws with white vinegar was--well, I can laugh about it now, but I'd rather have avoided that!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 07:52:16 PM by Artemis67 »

brian313313

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #124 on: November 20, 2014, 01:32:12 PM »
Buying a cheap foreclosure, fixing it up, renting it out, and selling it when the market returns. The repairs cost more than I expected. And the time required was so much bigger than I thought it would be. I ended up just selling it (broke even, except for the hundreds of hours of time and stress) and moving on with life. I'm doing well enough that a second job just wasn't worth it.

My first job was home remodeling so I had a little bit of experience before buying my first fixer-upper. Even with the experience, it's not easy. I have made money, but nothing more than a part-time job would pay. My worst experience was about 1000 hrs of work for a $6000 "profit". I did live there very cheaply in the two years I was there. (No heat, A/C, carpet, drywall for much of the time) I've had some winners too but I've never made a killing on anything. What was nice for me was having a second "job" that I could pick my own hours on and fill in when I was not working. I lived in the homes while I fixed them up so it was doable that way. If I were paying for the project home while living somewhere else I would have taken a loss on most of them because of the time it took while only working part-time.

Gilead1986

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #125 on: November 23, 2014, 12:42:29 PM »
Hunting; once I factor in gas, range time for accuracy and practice, the cost of licenses, and gear it is a huge drain on my finances. 

Vegetable gardening; probably don't break even on most things I could just buy from farmers markets, definitely don't make the property taxes for the house.  What's more pleasurable to me is wildlife gardening and perennial landscaping, but even that can be a burden when your neighbors decide to feed the stray cats that decimate the wildlife you try to attract. 

Volunteering;I used to think I would rather give of my time than my money to causes I believed in but now I find I waste more time and gas in headache filled meetings or constantly being bombarded with more demands of my time and effort than I do at my job.  The fact that most volunteer-oriented programs are led by a fully paid staff that sits around on their butts watching me work for free also can be irritating. 

Raising livestock for own purposes.  I suppose I would have a larger threshold if I had planned for a better market, but raising livestock just for your home table hasn't been profitable for me. 

Internet dating, just my own opinion and experience.  Probably more user error. 

I still do all of these things, sort of in for a penny in for a pound, but that's why I signed up for these forums to change my ways hopefully. 

Gerard

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #126 on: November 23, 2014, 01:09:04 PM »
  2 feet of sand, then solid clay underneath that.  Really need to get some good topsoil going before we try gardening again...

Clay is actually really nutritious for plants. Just a huge pain in the ass texture-wise. If you can manage to mix your clay and sand, and work in enough compost to lighten things up, the nutritious slow-draining clay and the un-nutritious fast-draining sand should play nice together (without the compost, you're basically re-inventing brickmaking).

You just need to find the compost. Good time of year for that -- lots of leaves around!

rocketpj

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #127 on: November 23, 2014, 03:03:13 PM »
Fishing - trout, salmon, crab, prawns etc.

I've bought and lost more crab traps than I care to count, with a fairly small haul of (delicious) crab.

I love trout fishing, but if I factor in gas, lures etc I know I can buy trout for cheaper in the store.  That said, I love trout fishing and part of the higher cost is in lures that my boys lose (I don't lose many anymore).

garion

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #128 on: November 25, 2014, 09:42:38 AM »
Packing my husband lunch for work... He can get a LOT of food for pretty cheap at the office cafeteria. Subbing the fancy organic/grassfed/etc food we eat at home just gets to be ridiculous pricewise given the volume he consumes at lunch. I still try to do it though for the health benefits...

totoro

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #129 on: November 25, 2014, 09:54:03 AM »
Fishing - trout, salmon, crab, prawns etc.

I've bought and lost more crab traps than I care to count, with a fairly small haul of (delicious) crab.

I love trout fishing, but if I factor in gas, lures etc I know I can buy trout for cheaper in the store.  That said, I love trout fishing and part of the higher cost is in lures that my boys lose (I don't lose many anymore).

I hear you - we probably do break even though because:

1.  Cheap boat and gear (under $3000)
2.  Live 10 min from the free boat launch
3.  Spend $5 on gas for boat each time
4.  Buy lures and crab traps second-hand (CL) - we are on a large island and there are lots of older fishermen who stop at some point - we do often lose a lure (1/2 of the time) when we are jigging for rock/ling cod and the bottom is rocky
5.  We catch fish each time we go out - value of fish is approx. $10-$80 each depending on size
6.  We get 1-12 crab we can keep (male certain size) about 1/4 of the time - one crab sells for $20 here - we haven't lost a crab trap yet - suggest you attach a very large buoy

skunkfunk

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #130 on: November 25, 2014, 03:08:58 PM »
Packing my husband lunch for work... He can get a LOT of food for pretty cheap at the office cafeteria. Subbing the fancy organic/grassfed/etc food we eat at home just gets to be ridiculous pricewise given the volume he consumes at lunch. I still try to do it though for the health benefits...

Even at $3 that's quite a lot of money for a meal vs. homemade lunch. On a $400 budget for 2 people (luxurious budget), allowing only 1/3 of it for lunch, you get something like $2.20 a day. $3 if you only count the work week and don't eat lunch on weekends/holidays would be okay. What is the price at his cafeteria?

TomTX

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #131 on: November 25, 2014, 03:38:47 PM »

Best thing for hiking water bottles is old Gatorade bottles. Big mouths, very sturdy, lightweight, and if something happens to then they're cheap to replace ($1.50 and it comes with free Gatorade!). I've been washing and reusing the same set for about 3 years now.

Yup, I had a friend who drinks the stuff save bottles for me. 12 in current rotation,  and a bag of spares in the garage.

I make a batch of tea (4 bottles) daily for my wife, and decaf chai for me every other day. Thw fridge stays stocked with ready cheap beverages all the time.  Been running the same set through the dishwasher for at least 6 months.  No leaks yet.

I have lost one or two in the back of the car long enough for mold, so chuck it in the recycle bin. Plenty more free new ones available.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #132 on: November 25, 2014, 08:17:36 PM »
Haven't seen candlemaking yet but it kinda expensive, couponing has never worked for me, gardening although I dont have a green thumb, homebuying, and anytime I moved....

Have you considered being a beekeeper...free wax? I guess I am, sort of, although I'm so afraid to take any honey from them this first year that I let them keep it all. But hopefully next year this hobby will pay. In theory.

FYI, unless you have a homeowners association that prohibits it (and there are a ton of stealth hives no one would recognize) you'll find that most urban yards can accommodate one or more hives: the bees will fly up to 5 miles in every direction.

For me, raising chickens cost way more time/effort/money than I had planned on. But, I still think it's worth it both for the quality of the eggs and for the humane way I treat the hens versus factory farms.

dragoncar

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #133 on: November 25, 2014, 09:07:12 PM »
Haven't seen candlemaking yet but it kinda expensive, couponing has never worked for me, gardening although I dont have a green thumb, homebuying, and anytime I moved....

Have you considered being a beekeeper...free wax? I guess I am, sort of, although I'm so afraid to take any honey from them this first year that I let them keep it all. But hopefully next year this hobby will pay. In theory.

FYI, unless you have a homeowners association that prohibits it (and there are a ton of stealth hives no one would recognize) you'll find that most urban yards can accommodate one or more hives: the bees will fly up to 5 miles in every direction.

For me, raising chickens cost way more time/effort/money than I had planned on. But, I still think it's worth it both for the quality of the eggs and for the humane way I treat the hens versus factory farms.

It sounds like the trend here is: doing yourself things that can be done en-masse by machines - not frugal

You probably get the biggest gains by doing things yourself that some other human person would have to do custom (auto repair, home maintenance, etc.)

You're not going to make your own soap cheaper than you can buy it.  But you can probably make your own "fancy artisan handmade soap with pressed lavender and blueberries" better than you can buy it.

Annie-Blake

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #134 on: December 04, 2014, 02:52:34 AM »
Taco's and Burritos: over $25!!!!

in australia, mince meat is $6 for 500g, i do:
500g mince, 500g chicken $12
spinach leaves $2
tomatoes; lately they have been 8.95 + per kilo so say $3 - $4
red onion; 70c
taco's - comes with seasoning and salsa $4 (aldi)
burritos - comes with seasoning and salsa $4 (aldi)

i only do this meal when guests come over, and it costs us over $25. 

then i do dessert, usually home made cookies, brownie or cupcakes.  and drinks.  it's certainly not cheap. but i don't have any 'super special talented meal' that i can just whip up.  so this is my go to.

dragoncar

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #135 on: December 04, 2014, 09:17:30 AM »
Taco's and Burritos: over $25!!!!

in australia, mince meat is $6 for 500g, i do:
500g mince, 500g chicken $12
spinach leaves $2
tomatoes; lately they have been 8.95 + per kilo so say $3 - $4
red onion; 70c
taco's - comes with seasoning and salsa $4 (aldi)
burritos - comes with seasoning and salsa $4 (aldi)

i only do this meal when guests come over, and it costs us over $25. 

then i do dessert, usually home made cookies, brownie or cupcakes.  and drinks.  it's certainly not cheap. but i don't have any 'super special talented meal' that i can just whip up.  so this is my go to.

Wow chicken is expensive in AUS

Ascotillion

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Re: Things you thought would be frugal but arent
« Reply #136 on: December 04, 2014, 10:32:27 PM »
Burritos don't have to be super expensive! Buying beef mince at the market costs $5/kg, and rather than buying the packet burrito sets I use my own spices and just pick up some of the tortillas by themselves. Plus, if you add in a bunch of other vegetables, they're healthier and they'll fill you up more! I don't use tomatoes but instead use a carrot, half a zucchini, a capsicum (if they're on special) and some sweet potato, and instead of fresh spinach I use frozen for about a sixth of the cost.

Last time I made them I had twelve for about nineteen dollars. Good meal for the freezer on nights you don't feel like cooking!