Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend Miser

A new column debuted in the New York Times weekend section today. Called Weekend Miser, it's objective is to report on interesting ways to spend time in the New York City area (where almost everything is expensive) without spending lots of money. If today's column (describing places that offer free fencing lessons, yoga and ballet) is an indication of what's to come, I'm definitely going to be a fan!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Re-usable Containers Save Money - And the Environment

Use reusable containers (made of plastic or glass) instead of plastic baggies, aluminum foil or plastic wrap to store leftovers and other food items.  Not only will you save money, but you'll be adding less trash to our nation's landfills.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Saving Water

In areas where water prices are high, being careful about water use can save you lots of money.  But even if your water bill isn't out of control, it is worth thinking about ways to use less water for environmental reasons.  Here are some tips to consider in the kitchen:
  • Reuse your cooking water, either for another cooking use (for example, use the water you use to steam or boil vegetables for making pasta, rice or soup -- which has the bonus of adding flavor without cost or calories) or to water your plants.
  • Use as few pots and dishes as possible so you'll use less water to clean up.  For example, one pot meals, like stews and stir fries, require less dish washing (and as a bonus, use less energy to cook).
  • Don't run the dishwasher until it is full (in most houses, that goes without saying).  And unless you have an older, less efficient machine, don't worry about rinsing off dishes in the sink first -- almost all dishwashers are now designed to allow you to skip this step.
  • Catch any water you normally run down the drain when waiting for the water to warm up (or cool down) in a bowl or pan. Use this water for your house plants or in the garden.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

80% off Sale Prices at Barrie Pace

I've received Barrie Pace catalogs in the mail for years.  The styles were a bit mature for me and the prices tended to be out of my range.  But occasionally I've snagged a tailored jacket or dress on sale and have been pleased with the quality.  So I was delighted today to learn that they are offering 80% off already discounted prices.  I found two date-worthy dresses - one for about $12 and the other for about $20 - both a tiny fraction of their usual prices.  I just placed the order today and so can't report on whether the quality is up to their usual standards, but this is definitely a sale worth checking out!  Just click over to Barrie Pace and use code "final80" at checkout.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cooler Kitchens

As summer approaches and temperatures rise, it is worth thinking about all the ways you can keep your house cooler without turning up the air conditioning.  One thing to consider is employing cooking strategies that rely less on your oven, thus keeping your kitchen from over-heating.  We all tend to serve more fresh fruits and vegetables, which don't require as much cooking.  Here are some other tightwad tips for a cooler kitchen:
  • If you must bake something, consider using your toaster oven's convection setting instead of the regular oven. It's so much smaller that it creates considerably less heat than a conventional oven.  And you'll be surprised by how much you can fit into the toaster oven.
  • Use your slow cooker instead of the stove burner for soups, stews and sauces.  Because it is contained, it will not overheat your space.
  • Cook as efficiently as possible, broiling instead of baking when you can (food cooks more quickly and you don't have to preheat the oven), and being sure to cover pots on the top of the stove so they cook faster.