I had my first encounter with a can of diced tomatoes when it showed up on my weekly shopping list and not that long ago. Don’t ask which planet I’ve been on when I tell you I truly did not know such a thing existed. Not a big canned tomato fan, I lived my life avoiding that section of the store. If it wasn’t tomato sauce or tomato puree, I didn’t buy it.
As I’ve told you in past columns, I don’t actually make my own shopping list. I depend on the kindness of others who love to do that and who share their lists with me. Hey, if they enjoy matching weekly sales with manufacturer’s coupons (TheGroceryGame.com and eMeals.com), who am I to deny them that privilege? And I’m adventurous. I’ll try new things, even diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, one of several varieties available.
The first time I bought a can of diced tomatoes, I didn’t really buy it–I acquired it. It was on sale and when the clerk reduced the sale price by doubling the value of the coupon, it was free. How could I pass up a free can of diced tomatoes–with garlic and onion, no less? Continue reading
Do you know where I can donate empty plastic prescription bottles? It seems such a waste to throw them away. Susan H., Tennessee
Call your local veterinarian. Most vets are more than happy to receive cleaned prescription bottles with labels removed for dispensing medicines for animals. Humane societies need bottles to send medications home with newly adopted pets, too. Medical missionaries doing outreach work in poor countries can always use prescription bottles to dispense the medications that come in large quantities. Check with your pharmacist or church to locate a collection program in your area. These little plastic bottles are great for storing sewing machine needles, pins and buttons, for small makeup brushes and change for the laundromat and toll booths. They are the perfect size to to hold salad dressing in a packed lunch. They are great for keeping hooks and other items in a tackle box. Prescription bottles are ideal for storing small beads, garden seeds, pushpins; for carrying aspirin and storing mixed paints for craft and ceramic projects, too. Continue reading
In a recent column I showed you how to make a very effective fruit fly trap. I thought my trap was quite effective because I caught those flies that were driving me nuts. Then I got an email message from reader Betty, who offered a couple of improvements. I immediately upgraded my trap accordingly. So much better.
DELUXE FRUIT FLY TRAP. I make fruit fly traps and just put apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and mix in a little bit of dish washing soap. The soap breaks the tensile strength of the surface of the water and the fruit flies sink and drown. No plastic wrap needed.
I have heard of using saran wrap on top of the bowl and poking small holes in the top—apparently they can get in and not out, but I have great success with just the bowl, vinegar and dish soap. –Betty B., email Continue reading
Want to put a thousand bucks back into your wallet in the coming year? If you’re paying around $100 per month now, pulling that plug would more than do it and without leaving you high and dry for TV entertainment.
If even the thought of such an extreme measure feels for all the world like losing your favorite binky, I understand. Oh boy do I.
It’s been three months now since we cancelled our cable TV service, loaded up the cable box, DVR and remote control and dropped them off at the local Time Warner office. While I can’t say we dialed our monthly entertainment costs back to $0, we have reduced the cost by more than $100 a month.
What we had before: Basic cable service including several premium sports packages like ESPN and movie channels. My husband is a sports fanatic, while I approach the level of “junkie” when it comes to cable news.
What we have now: Local free broadcast channels and access to movies, TV and sports that are available live and otherwise, online as well as an audio feed for cable news channels. Continue reading
Do you have any idea how much money you spend each month to feed your family? Even if you think you know, you may be shocked to learn the truth.
Recently I heard from a reader in Ohio who decided to keep track of how much she spent on food for one entire month. She was all but speechless when she told me it came to more than $850. On food. Now, had she planned to spend that much as part of a carefully charted budget, that would be one thing. But this is the same person who’d told me previously that she thought that number was more like $450 “at the most.”
It’s no secret that food costs are skyrocketing. Every week I am amazed if not worried. While we can’t control the cost of food, we can control the ways that we spend our food dollars.
There’s more at play that just the cost of food. There’s the time required to track sales, shop carefully then prepare and cook our meals. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get. I rely on multiple sources, but probably none as much as the online menu planning service, eMeals.com. This is simply genius. Here’s how it works: Continue reading