Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Latest Frugal Escapades

I've been a little busy lately, but don't worry- just with frugal stuff!

I thought I'd let you know about some of my latest frugal escapades.

So I've returned to foraging. I had stopped for some time, but then recently, we went to the beach and I foraged a huge amount of purslane, which we've been eating daily since then. Also at the beach, instead of using coals for our BBQ, I made the fire entirely out of wood we collected, without even any paper to start it out- just some leaves and bark and kindling! I love frugal fun!

Then yesterday, my bulk order arrived. I had already had in stock (partially used up) 50 lb bags of raw buckwheat, millet, sunflower seeds, desiccated coconut, and baking soda, plus lots of bulk spices, bulk palm oil, and 2 smaller packages of bulk chocolate chips.
This latest order added 10 lbs of onion flakes- useful in cooking, and also I use it to make homemade onion powder- 50 lbs of instant mashed potatoes- just a single ingredient and dehydrated, which makes it a decently fine "fast food" meal base for when I'm too busy to cook a whole entire supper.
I also got 40 lbs of coconut oil, and 10 lbs of baking powder.

Today I went to the farmer's market right at closing time... and came home with a huge garbage bag full of mint, a bunch of celery, and a huge amount of fish. All free.

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Here's the fish.

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Its really fish scraps, but I've discovered that fish scraps are a wonderful frugal food.

I divided up the fish into a large pot of fish heads- which I am cooking together, a large pot of fish skeletons, which I am cooking together. Cooking these separately because they take different amounts of time to cook and I want to be able to pick the meat off the bones which is hard to do if they fall apart from being overcooked.

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I also separated out the fish skins, which I plan on de-scaling and frying up or baking into deliciousness.

There was a decent amount of salmon stuff, and though I stick every other scrap together, I take out the salmon and cook them separately because they have a unique flavor that I want to enjoy separately. Some salmon skeletons and salmon skin.

I took out the fish guts and plan on cooking up the livers, hearts, and fish eggs after cleaning them- they're delicious and ultra frugal, not to mention being amazingly beneficial nutritionally.

So, what frugal things have you been up to lately?


  1. I'm interested to know the recipes or meals you make these into. Please keep us posted!

  2. I've spent the past week delving into family cloth and cloth menstrual pads. So far, I'm really happy with the switch!

  3. My frugal escapades:
    1. applying for a few jobs, part-time and/or work from home... for personal reasons I can't do full-time right now. But more income is a good thing.
    2. Turned a chicken carcass into chicken salad, soup, etc., that I've been eating all week. Okay, so I do that every time we have chicken, to be fair.
    3. Ground a bunch of bread into crumbs, eventually going to get around to trying your breadcrumb cookies.
    4. In deference to the crazy hot weather around here, and the fact that I don't like plain water, made a bunch of iced tea and lemonade (based on your laborade recipe) from scratch. Frugal AND healthy!
    5. Haven't been grocery shopping in probably at least a week (hey, that's a long time for us) and may be able to make it another week with what I've got in the house :-) not doing an official challenge yet though.
    6. Scouring websites and dumpsters looking for a free couch (found one, too! but it was taken, alas.), because I want to turn my tiny home into something livable, not just the place to eat and sleep that it is now.
    7. Friend of mine is moving and giving away books that she doesn't want to pack/bring with her. I took a bunch, way more than I actually wanted, intending to turn them into store credit at a used bookstore.
    8. Stitched up a bunch of my husband's ripped shirts so he can keep wearing them and doesn't have to replace them. Looked up knitting patterns: I need a wallet and don't want to buy one, and he will need a new scarf this winter (which will take me awhile to make). I'm not actually sure if yarn is cheaper than a scarf (I'm certain it'll be cheaper than a wallet); still researching that. But sitting and doing things with my hands when I'm nervous is more frugal than therapy :-D
    (Okay, so I'm nowhere near as frugal as you are just yet, but I'm getting there!)

  4. Hi Cara,
    I find knitting yarn quite expensive, too, so I want to share a frugal advice with you. My grandmother used to take old sweaters (you can find them cheaply secondhand), put them apart, save the yarn and then knit socks out of it. The process is simple, and you can find tutorials online. That way you can knit a scarf that would be meaningful and up to your taste, but still cheaper than those in the stores.
    I hope I helped, and good luck!

    1. That is awesome advice! The wallet I'm going ahead on because I already have some yarn left over from another project, but I am totally keeping this in mind for my upcoming scarf project. Thanks!

    2. I unravel sweaters for yarn all the time, you should definitely give it a shot. I would even go so far as to say I find it relaxing.

  5. great going , could you please publish on chicken?

  6. Love your website & your ideas but please...Palm oil! If we have any love for this planet we MUST stop using palm oil despite it being inexpensive & yummy it is signalling the end of Indonesian indigenous flora & causing widespead pollution (see Singapore & Malaysia in the last couple of weeks) when they clear huge swathes of forests to grow the stuff. Love & peace & penny pinching hugs to you x
    Susan, North-East UK

    1. I'll be honest, Susan, while in an ideal world I'd do exactly as you suggest, since I have limited money and limited time and limited energy, I need to choose what to focus my money and energy on, and while I would love to spend it on things that are more green, if it comes at the expense of my family's health and wellbeing, it's too high a price for us to pay.

    2. Susan--Palm oil is really quite healthy and not all of it comes from Singapore and Malaysia. Tropical Traditions, where many frugal folks get their bulk palm oil purchases.
      See: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/red_palm_oil.htm
      Please don't assume you know Penny's source without first asking, and don't assume ALL palm oil is bad. Just like anything else we buy, if we do our research, we can feel good about our purchases.

  7. It's interesting because in my local grocery stores, fish heads go up for sale just like every part of the fish and are sometimes more expensive per pound! I think it's because the "waste not" mantra is deeply ingrained in my culture - our local restaurants serve the same fish head stew my mom makes. While it is great that every part of the fish is used, I can't help but feel a little disappointed that I can't use your frugal saving tips!


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