PASSIVE SAVINGS AND SPENDING
A comment made by Dana last week, reminded me of the phrase "passive saving", a term I believe Amy Dacyczyn of Tightwad Gazette coined. So much of our savings comes from what we don't do. I'm always slightly amused by thrift blogs that begin with what they spent money on for the week. I recently discovered that there's an entire genre of YouTube videos on thrift and dollar store hauls. I guess one man's thrift is another man's folly. When I post about thrifty things I did this week, it is often hard to come up with anything because most of my savings is in what I didn't do, i.e.; I didn't go out to eat, I didn't spend any money on gas because I didn't go anywhere, I didn't go grocery shopping. etc' .. In other words the easiest way to save money is not to spend it in the first place. Not to say that all spending is bad. Hey, no one enjoys a good thrift "haul" more than I, but if it becomes something to just spend money on, where's the savings? When something is a great buy, it is better to spend the money now, rather than pay more for it later. This week I intend to buy some turkeys to can because they are on sale for about half the price I usually see them. And if I ever find a great deal on butter, I intend on stocking up. Ditto for ham. The clothes I bought at the thrift store last spring on the great end-of -the-season sale for seventeen cents and put away are nice to where now, rather than paying regular prices. When it comes to spending I guess you have to ask yourself, "Is it thrift or is it entertainment?", then decide if it is worth it. I dare say, yours truly included, that shopping can be a form of amusement.
It was time to for the semi-annual switching of the wardrobe here. Our house has very limited closet space so, we must pack our clothes away in the attic and bring them out each season (we really only have two, Winter and Summer). Just seeing everything laid out and taking stock of what I do have is enough to put the brakes on any clothes spending. Where did I get so many scarves? Every time I'm at a garage or estate sale and spot a pretty scarf, I buy it, after all they usually cost less than a dollar, but now I've discovered I have an entire bin of scarves and shawls. Not to mention all that I've knitted with left over yarn. I needn't look at another scarf for at least a decade. I'd encourage anyone that's a recreational shopper to lay out all their clothes on their bed and take a good look. Get rid of all the things that you never wear, all the unflattering things, all the things that are not "you", the things that don't "go"with anything and the things that are too big or too small. What you'll probably end up with is a nice basic wardrobe. Figure out from what remains why you never have anything to wear. Perhaps it is because you don't have the right shoes to wear with your pants or maybe your missing an entire category of clothes. I discovered that while I have plenty of skirts and sweaters I have very few tops to put underneath those sweaters. Make a list of what you need and then don't even venture into the aisles of things you don't need (like the scarves). Personally, what I discovered is that I tend to wear the same three or four skirts and rarely wear the others. I discovered that having some tops and bottoms in just basic colors is enough. To add interest I have a wardrobe of vests and scarves. The vest can tone down a too wild print or add a little pizzazz to boring basics. Ditto for scarves and shawl. But then again, I dress very strangely, so I'm not sure anyone would take my advice. Ha! I was Bohemian before it was a style trend, it's definitely not for wallflowers. I've noticed that most the ladies in my area wear either jean or yoga pants and tee shirts. Ah well! At my age I can be eccentric. I wish more people had the courage to be who they truly want to be. What a fun colorful world it would be! Why do we have to take something as silly as fashion so seriously? I think it's one of the reasons Halloween is so popular, it's the one day out of the year when you can truly express yourself in the way you dress. For me, every day is dress up day.
RECIPE FROM THE GARDEN
OK, so enough of that prattle. Last week I wrote about my Australian Butter squashes, they were delicious, but they're a lot of squash for three people, particularly when two of those three are not overly fond of squash. So I had some of the puree left over which I made into these wonderful biscuits;
2 C. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 C. cold butter
1 C. pureed squash
2 tsp. honey
1-4 tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter until it is a coarse crumb.
Mix honey into squash puree and stir into flour mixture. Add enough milk to form a soft dough. Use alight hand and don't overwork the dough, just enough to combine the ingredients well.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a square approximately 1/2 inch thick. Cut into biscuits. Place close together on a greased baking sheet. (placing biscuits close together forces the biscuits to rise up instead of spread out) Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned.
Ran and Jamie love these biscuits served the "southern" way with some butter and brown sugar while they are hot out of the oven. They do taste almost like a pumpkin cinnamon roll that way.
We foraged for hops, red clover and red raspberry leaves this week. The hops are growing up the wall on an abandoned building near by and the clover is in the vacant lot a few houses down. The raspberry leaves come from our neighbor's humongous raspberry patch. We dried all of these plants and ground them, along with lavender and bay leaves to make a sort of incense that we burn for those times when we can't sleep. Hops and lavender are also good to make a pillow from. This is an herbal remedy so please do not write to tell me that you are allergic or have some other health reason why you can't use it. As with all herbal remedies, do your own research and use with caution. What works for us, may not work for you.
WHY I DON'T DO THESE SORT OF THINGS
Carrying on with the same vein of not taking things too seriously, I thought I'd share with you the "lovely" selfies I took for this post. I was trying to get a picture of my hat that I just finished.
THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK
Ran made some spoons from the black walnut our neighbor gave us.
Made sauerkraut from our $1.49 cabbage. (about 8 pounds )
We made a big pot of red beans and rice and ate that for three days. Making a big pot of food and not cooking again for three days is my style. Did I ever confide in you that I hate to cook?
Our neighbor was cleaning out her garage and gave us a bunch of nails and screws that she no longer used.
Foraged for hops, red raspberry leaves and red clover.
Made the aforementioned herbs into a remedy for sleeplessness.
Attended our local farmers market and visited with a lot of people for entertainment.
Another neighbor gave us a gallon of soon to be expired milk for the strays. They are becoming a neighborhood project.
Started knitting a Christmas present from my never-ending yarn stash.
Basically just passively saved by spending a quiet week at home.
So that's it for this week at the old Zempel boarding house. I truly hope you all are well and safe. There's so much bad news in the world right now, we must remain confident that this too will pass. I hope you enjoyed my bit of fluff today. I thought after last week's seriousness, I would just post something light-hearted. Here's a hug for courage!