Frugal Mom$ter... life, finance, food, fitness, and photos.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

It’s super easy to make your own laundry detergent. You might think this takes a lot of time, but it takes about 5 minutes and lasts about 6 months or more. The last time we made laundry detergent was before the Crab arrived, over 6 months ago, and we still had a decent amount left. This past week, I made a bit more to last another half year.

The recipe is pretty simple, you can make it complex with essential oils if you choose to, but we’re pretty easy going with our laundry scents.

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Making Homemade Baby Food

One of my favorite things to do for my little baby guy, Crab, is to make homemade baby food. We do use premade jars of food on occasion for a quick weekend meal when we have company or when we’ve gone to someone’s house and the food we are bringing would be sitting out for quite some time. Otherwise, my freezer is currently stocked with delicious bites and it took one Sunday afternoon to make enough food for probably 1-2 months of meals.

I like to cook on Sunday afternoons, making a huge mess of the kitchen all at once. It just seems easier to use all the tools and then clean up vs. daily mess for little meals. The particular weekend I made baby food, I also threw together this homemade ice cream. You can see the egg yolks and pot for it in the background.

I start out with a bunch of vegetables and some fruits. I prep all of the items first (unless it’s apples, I’ll peel them before cooking) by peeling or chopping. This time around everything I made I used a steaming basket and rinsed everything in-between each item (it was for his first foods, in the future I won’t need to rinse between as much).

And I put all the remnants into a bowl for our new compost area outside.

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4 Ways to Be Frugal Not Related to Money

Often times you might think being frugal or financially savvy has to come with the knowledge of investing or managing your money in a high profile way. Either that, or you might assume being frugal is all about cutting every little expense to the point of misery. It’s truly neither of those experiences as we’ve learned from our path to a frugal lifestyle.

Being frugal is, yes, about money and your management of incoming vs. outgoing, but it’s also about quality vs. quantity, and a whole host of other personal choices. Here are four ways to be frugal without being directly related to your income or your expenses:

1. Learn to Cook

When Chris and I first were out on our own, in our very first home, neither of us knew how to cook very well. Chris was so good at it, it landed him on Rachel Ray as the Substitution Guy! While I was a bit more improved and could make average meals from boxes or cans, I wasn’t the experimental chef I am today.

On our road to frugal living, we both learned how to cook. We watched America’s Test Kitchen together, after we got rid of cable six years ago (more on that later), and we started to learn about the specifics of home cooking. I found an interest in fresh fruits and vegetables, even often times venturing out to a local farm or one year we joined a CSA. Chris became a pizza dough expert.

With the plethora of YouTube chefs (and zillions of websites with recipes) out there, it’s easy to recreate your favorite restaurant meal at home. I recently decided to try my hand at empanadas, after seeing an episode of America’s Worst Cooks, realizing it was so much easier than I thought.

From there, we haven’t been to our favorite Mexican restaurant in months! I just whip up some homemade goods when we’re in the mood. It saves us quite a bit, but it also makes for enjoyable time spent together with each other, and definitely with our three year old; you’ll come to know him as “Monkey”. Continue reading…

Frugal vs. Cheap

In starting this blog I thought I’d repost an accepted definition of being frugal vs. cheap. This post was the top viewed post on my personal blog since 2012, and it seemed only fitting to kick off the Frugal Mom$ter with it here, too!

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Before I dive in, let’s define frugal and cheap and discuss why I chose “Frugal” over “Cheap”. I prefer the easy explanation on the Simple Dollar:

Frugal: a frugal person seeks to find the best deal on an item that meets the desired level of quality

Cheap: a cheap person will always take the route of least financial cost in the here and now

We consider ourselves to be frugal, not cheap, which is often confused. While we look to save money, we also have invested in quality cars, technology, camera, and kitchen gear. We learned the err of our ways in going the cheap route and it’s costs in replacement.

I used to be materialistic… so when did this all start? 

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Frugal Momster Beginnings

I’m Kate Nesi, and I’m the Frugal Mom$ter!

I wasn’t always frugal, and I wasn’t always a Mom(ster). About 10 years ago, back in 2006, I was in a financial mess of thousands (and adding semesterly) in graduate student loans, a brand new mortgage with only 5% down + lots of PMI with my soon-t0-be husband, and no savings to be found. We were struggling week by week to make ends meet, we didn’t have a gauge on how to save money together, and we spent our Friday nights perusing the aisles of Target to shop shop shop after going out to eat meals we could’ve cooked at home.

FMBeginnings

We were planning our wedding, fixing up our new home, and trying to stay on top of monthly payments, debts, and adding to the pile in the process. While I never had consumer debt (I learned from others how horrible it can be early on in my young life), my soon-to-be husband at the time was drowning in a bit of it. It wasn’t pretty, but looking back after hitting our financial bottom, we’ve grown into a power frugal couple and have learned a ton of things about personal finance and added to our skillsets on top of it. If I had never come across a site about getting rich slowly, I probably would be far worse off today.

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