Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A few more ideas.

Quick Garlic Bread

Instead of heating the broiler or oven to make garlic bread, I drizzle olive oil on the slices, sprinkle them with garlic powder, and put them in the microwave at 50-percent power. The length of time in the microwave depends on how many slices I'm making. This takes only seconds, saving time and electricity. Evah W. in Kansas City MO

Tricky Due Dates

I have never been late to pay any of my bills. Two months ago, I noticed that three of my bills had the due date adjusted to come due a week earlier. One was my phone bill and the other was my electric bill. The third was a credit card payment. The credit card was actually two weeks earlier. Thank goodness I have taught myself to look at every bill the minute it comes in and write the due date on the front envelope.

This saved me a ton of grief. Imagine what my interest rate could have been if I had not been paying attention. I have since paid off the one that adjusted two weeks early and closed that account. I also spoke to a customer service representative from each one. Until 2010, credit card agencies are being permitted to do this without your consent or knowledge. This is happening to a lot of folks that I know, so be careful. Beth

Family Loves Hamburger Helper

My family loves Hamburger Helper, but I can't feed my family of six with one box. Last night, we decided to add two pounds of hamburger and two extra cups of noodles, and we doubled the water and milk. It was amazing! It tasted exactly the same and we all got to indulge! We even had leftovers! For the cost of one box, I can now feed my entire family something they love! Catherine from Missouri

editor's note: You can also save by creating your own seasoning mixes and replace Hamburger Helper(r) entirely! If you have a favorite seasoning combination, send it by mailto:gary@stretcher.com?subject=Seasoning_Mixes and we'll share the best ones in future issues.

Affordable Countertops

My husband and I bought a foreclosure that needed a lot of love and a lot of improvements. We inherited white cabinets and white countertops, and in a family with three messy kids, that's less than ideal. Several of my neighbors have installed
granite countertops for about $4,000. Even new Formica countertops were going to be over $1,000. Neither was an option for us. I took the plunge and painted my countertops. I cleaned them with denatured alcohol, primed with an oil-based primer, spray painted with granite paint, and used four coats of polyurethane to seal them. The finished product looks awesome! I couldn't be more pleased and wish I had done it years ago! The cost of my project? Roughly $100! JAS

Little Luxuries
The Indulgent Glass

At a thrift store, I bought myself a crystal drinking glass. I think the cost was $3. No matter what I pour into this glass, I feel indulgent. Even when I have a rough day or am feeling blue, this glass represents what I want my life to be, which is calm, orderly, and relaxed. Even if I'm wearing a ratty bathrobe, I feel elegant with my goblet! CC

Editor's note: Many of us have given up a lot because of the economy. So we're looking for "Little Luxuries" that we can share with everyone. If you have an inexpensive way to make yourself feel good, please send it by email here . We'll share the best ones in future issues.
These items came from the Dollar Stretcher site, my favorite website.

Note from Lucy: Let me know what you "little luxuries" are..... My favorite little luxury is a bottle of chocolate milk...I know that sounds silly, but I like to buy those little bottles of Bordon's chocolate milk at the grocery store and drink in on the way home in the car...Anyone that is a close friend of mines, knows my favorite little luxury. I'm not sure if it is a weakness or a luxury...lol.


At 8:16 PM, Blogger Jim said...

My little luxury is something old that I find someone throwing away. Once I got a couch off the side of the road, it only had three legs. But an empty paint can on the legless corner fixed it good.
I have a whole box of goodies to try to figure out how and when I will use them right now. And those wall warts? Our Angelic Resale sells them for a quarter.

I do most of those things except the counter top. I only have five kids and they have all left home, so guess stretching the HH'er won't go either.

When I pay bills, it is on Monday. When the mail comes, I mark the top of the envelope with the Monday's date to pay it. I put the amount our front so I can see if I need to 'juggle' something for it.
If there isn't a charge for phone and using the MC, I pay my bills that way. Saves on postage. Watch Entergy, they charge $2.50 for doing that, others that use a service do similarly.

I spread butter on the slices, sprinkle a little garlic powder (to taste) on, and put them in the toaster which I lay on its side.
Just watch the pop-up action as if you don't dampen the throw it will toss the bread onto the floor.
The toaster uses a lot less electricity than even the microwave. And the bread never gets tough.
I just gave you for free some of the hints in my Bachelor's Cookbook I am writing.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger SusieQ said...

Laying the toaster on its side, now isn't that clever, Jim. I'll have to remember that when I want to toast bread that I have buttered on one side first.

Little luxuries: I serve our morning smoothies that I make for hubby and me in fancy glasses.

At 1:48 AM, Blogger Diane@Diane's Place said...

I haven't had Borden's chocolate milk in 35 years! I love it but they quit selling it around here many years ago. Every time Lamar visits his brother in Fort Worth he comes home bragging about having Borden's chocolate milk while he was in Texas.

I like to buy sparkling grape juice or apple cider and drink it from a wine glass. It's one of my favorite treats for myself, and healthy too. I have to ration it though because of my diabetes, but it usually doesn't drive my sugar up like sugar sweetened drinks sometimes does.

Happy Wednesday! :o)

Love and hugs,


At 8:18 AM, Anonymous nj countertops said...

Another cheaper countertop optin is solid surface

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Renie Burghardt said...

Oh, I love beads! And whenever we go to a flea market I look for them. Usually find some really pretty ones for cheap! I have beads of every color now. lol.

Happy Wedmesday, Lucy.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I grew up on Hamburger Helper, but my fussy family doesn't all agree it's good, so we don't have it much.

My little luxury is Ramen noodles. I'm not supposed to have them becasue of the high sodium and cholesterol content, but I love a bowl of that stuff. When I'm in the mood for a more expensive treat, I buy a frozen lobster tail. That and melted butter, mmmmm.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

Little luxury? I guess eating breakfast out on the weekend would qualify. Oh, I have a better one. I just love the International Coffee brand, even though it's quite pricy. Sugar-free mocha java is my favorite.

I ditto Fred on Hamburger Helper. It was a fav from my bachelor days but the missus would have fitsus if I ever bought a box.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Oh great One said...

FIRST I love the counter idea. I've wanted to try painting counters for a LONG time but wasn't sure how to go about it. FANTASTIC!

Little luxury? Dark chocolate. I keep some in my cabinet and have a piece of it after dinner.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I'll try that garlic bread tip, but my only reservation is that it might make the break chewy instead of it having that nice, crispy top that I like it to have when I broil it. It's worth a try though, so I'll try it.

I didn't know that bill due dates can be changed without notice. That's scary!

Little luxuries...
a chocolate truffle now and then
a hot bath with Calgon
burning scented candles or oils

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Some great tips here!!! I don't have any little luxury that I can think of right now...My mind is swirling with work. I am sneaking a few minutes here and then to read blogs today! LOL

Raining hard here today....good day to stay in, I guess. I need to make a shopping run to the city, though...maybe tonight! Then back to my bathroom tile work later tonight!

((( HUGS )))


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