The Daily Tightwad Tutor Lesson #2: Dilute Everything!

Welcome to The Daily Tightwad Tutor Lesson #2: Dilute Everything!

saving money on milk
Not enough milk for breakfast? Here’s a simple trick. Dilute with water!

Yesterday you read that you should cut everything in half. Today, get in the habit of diluting everything! That’s right, cut milk, juice (cuts sugar), cleaning fluids (cuts toxicity), shampoo (cuts harshness), conditioner (thins it out a bit), body wash (it’s too concentrated anyhow) — anything liquid! Again, you will either be saving 50% or doubling your money–whichever way you look at it. For more on diluting milk, read this post.~Marilyn, TFF

Frugal or Crazy: Save Water & Money by Recycling Ice

Clean bags of ice ready to go for next weekend. No more trips to the convenience store for overpriced ice.

Once summer hits, my family turns to boating. That means bringing a large ice chest full of food and drinks on board. For years, we’ve made ice plus bought ice to the tune of $2 bucks a bag at times (depending where we get it–if we are desperate, we head to the marina or a convenience store — ridiculous, but if we planned ahead, it’s cheaper at the grocery store). The ice we make in our freezer is never enough to fill the chest, that’s why we have to buy more. Continue reading “Frugal or Crazy: Save Water & Money by Recycling Ice”

vegetable garden

Earth Day is Every Day When You Strive for Zero Waste

In light our annual Fairfield, CT Earth Day Celebration, I have updated this post I wrote.

Hey, Fairfield, Reduce Your Waste! It’s Frugal and Sustainable!  Continue reading “Earth Day is Every Day When You Strive for Zero Waste”

Inspiration for a Simple Lifestyle — The Zero Waste Challenge in Fairfield, CT

The Zero Waste Challenge – Fairfield, Reduce Your Waste and Health and Wealth Will Follow

We are a family of five, including three growing children.  Our ranch style house is 1,100 square feet, with a 600 sq. ft. finished basement that has a full bathroom (thank goodness!).  We have been a one-modest-income family for nearly nine years.  We live debt-free in one of the most expensive counties in the United States.  Little did I realize that it all began with cutting down on waste – literally, garbage.

The first expense we cut was our garbage service.  (If you are reading this from out of town, you read that correctly.  Garbage service is not covered by city tax.)  At that time, we had two in diapers and a town dump run four times a month.  So for the first couple of years, it was only a savings of about $100 per year.  However, a couple of years later, after our third child was born, we did two things that affected our garbage disposal: established a compost bin and discovered Freecycle.

Compost Bin
Image via Wikipedia

With a compost bin and worms from the backyard, our vegetable scraps turned to soil.  Composting eventually led to the start of a modest 4’ x 8’ ft. raised bed garden, which in two years lowered our food bill and raised our health quotient. Freecycling decreased our need to purchase items.  I’ve gotten great toys and games, arts and crafts, winter boots and clothing –in great condition- for our family.  Conversely, by offering items Freecycle, I began the long, on-going process of de-cluttering our house.  With composting and Freecycling, our trips to the dump and our spending began to decrease even more.  Bonus: the environment benefited, too.

Other ways we began to cut down on waste and spending:  for the last five years, since my daughter started 1st grade, we have been using cloth napkins, and much to my husband’s dismay, stopped using paper towels.  Instead, we reuse rags, wash with cold water and hang clothes on outdoor- and/or indoor- laundry lines.  Also, for the last eight years, we have belonged to an organic and natural food buying club and buy food items such as the “dirty dozen” organic produce, grains, flour, sugar, and dried herbs, and non-food items, such as detergent in bulk at much lower prices than stores such as Mrs. Green’s, Whole Foods, and even Trader Joe’s.

Today, with composting, single-stream recycling (as of last summer – #1 – 7 plastics and paperboard boxes (cereal and tissue boxes) can now be recycled), and just buying less, we go to the town dump once every three weeks!

Several months ago, an online news video story about the “Zero Waste Home” caught my eye.  Bea and Scott Johnson and their two growing boys downsized from a 3,000 square foot home to a 1,400 square foot home.  They went from filling two large rolling garbage cans per week to holding four months worth of garbage in two hands.

Their grocery bills have been cut by 25% by shopping locally and carefully planning meals.  Their utility bills have gone down even more.  “Zero Waste is good for your wallet,” Bea says.  But most of all, they have achieved a well-being of health and happiness they did not enjoy with having more stuff.  This family is a living example of “LESS IS MORE” and “HEALTH IS WEALTH.”

Living in Fairfield, CT, in Fairfield County, one of the most expensive and affluent counties in the United States, is being surrounded by a majority who believe that success is defined by having the most square footage, the most luxurious cars, and the latest “stuff”.  I challenge you, dear reader, especially Fairfielders, to help turn this definition around.  Let’s teach our children that success is defined by the ability to put people before things, and to refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle.  Less IS more.  Health IS wealth.

Click here for The Zero Waste Home video news story I stumbled upon.

Here’s The Zero Waste Home Blog that inspires me.

The “Dirty Dozen” Organic Produce list helps make eating organic fruits and veggies affordable.  Download the app or print the wallet-sized shopping guide here.

One of many resources on cooking and eating on a budget here AND here for budget food ideas.

Our organic and natural food buying club is open to new members.  Send me your email address to learn more.

—Aimee, TFF

This Just In: Make $100 in an Hour!

Don't miss the P&G insert! It could save you $100 for just a little bit of legwork.


Make sure you don’t throw out the P&G Saver that you’ll get with your Saturday/Sunday paper! You can easily miss a page  in there that has a heading: “A Year of Savings.” Basically, you have to send in by snail mail proof that you’ve bought $50 of P&G products between Feb. 1st and April 15th. The proof they want is receipts with P&G products circled. For those of us who save shopping receipts, you probably already have $50 of P&G products. Just fill out the form, send in the receipts, and you’ll get back a booklet with $100 in coupons.  

Honestly, this just takes an hour if you have your receipts together and organized.   

Remember, to see the full list of P&G products (not all are shown on the page above), check out this link: 

Here, you will see all P&G products–you’ll see how quickly you can add up $50 you have already spent  

If you don’t see the form in your paper, just go to this link–you don’t really NEED the form according to P&G–they just want you to buy their products!  

If you save your reciepts, you’ll already have this!