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Tightwad Assignment – Sprinkler season thumbnail

(April 28, 2009) – Folks here in northeast Florida have been under water restrictions for years.  Now  the lessons leaned in saving water can apply to everyone in a down economy.  The folks at Rainbird have a number of tips for saving water – including the following.

Tips From Rain Bird that Will Keep Your Lawn,
Garden and Wallet Full of Green

Did you ever think that you could be saving water by using an irrigation system? If your irrigation system is correctly designed, installed and maintained, it will help reduce the amount of water you use and still keep your lawn and landscape looking healthy. A few good sense tips from the leader in irrigation…

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Cup, razor, mineral oil Tightwad Assignment – Shaving update thumbnail

(April 27, 2009) – Back in February, I began an experiment.  A caller to The Clark Howard Show said that he had been able to use a cheap razor for months simply by drying it, then immersing it in mineral oil.

The idea is that humidity causes corrosion and destroys the sharpness of the blade.

I began with a cheap drugstore razor on February 1.  I’m happy to say that I’m still using that razor.

Tightwad Gourmet – Depression cooking – Cooked bread thumbnail

(April 8, 2009) – Now 93, Clara shows us how to salvage a rock hard loaf of old bread, using a recipe she perfected during The Great Depression.

First, she slices the bread into manageable hunks.

Then she adds olive oil – it must be olive oil, not some other kind.  Add salt to taste.

In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil.

Add the boiling water to the bread, and mash the bread until it is soft.

Clara tells why the bread is good for infants and old people. With a laugh.

Again we don’t make health claims for these recipes, but they are proven to keep people alive during hard times.


Tightwad Gourmet – Depression cooking – Peppers and eggs thumbnail

(April 1, 2009) – Clara was 92 when she made this video.  Once again, she reprises favorite, cheap, recipes from the depression. This time, it’s peppers and eggs.

First, she cleans out and slices three large  bell peppers.  Be sure to get all the white stuff out of the inside -it’s bitter.  Slice them into long strips.

Brown the peppers in a skillet in oil.  You may be able to use less oil if you cook in a non-stick pan.

After the peppers are brown, add salt and turn down the heat.

Mix four eggs as you would for scrambling, then add them to the peppers in the skillet.  Stir around to mix thoroughly.  Cook until the eggs are done.

Watch Clara cook the Peppers and Eggs recipe for a few hints about quantity.  Like most cooks, she doesn’t measure.

Plus, you’ll learn why she stopped sharing sandwiches at school

Tightwad Gourmet – Depression cooking – Poorman’s Meal thumbnail

(March 25, 2009) – 91- year old Clara shows us how to cook meals she once made during the depression.  While the ingredients might make a modern day health nut cringe, the wholesome food kept people alive.

As usual, she begins by peeling and dicing a potato and frying it in oil.  She uses a skillet.  You might get by with less oil if you use a non-stick pan.  Then she adds a diced onion, salt and pepper.   She browns it all together in the pan.

Towards the end, she adds a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce.

While the potatoes and onions are cooking, Clara thinly slices several hot dogs.  Commentors suggest you could also use Italian sausage.  Clara says they hot dogs were cheap.

She adds the sliced dogs to the potatoes and stirs until they are thoroughly heated through.  She adds a little water to help soften the potatoes.

Watch Clara and learn a few more tips – plus the reason she had to quit high school


Tightwad Assignment – Stay safe when buying used thumbnail

(March 21, 2009) – The government has published a list of safety tips when shopping thrift stores and yard sales.

The tips cover everything from cribs to lamps to bean bag chairs.

Take a look at the entire list.

Tightwad Assignment – Stay married thumbnail

(March 20, 2009) – As someone who has been divorced twice, this sounds funny coming from me, but one way to save a lot of money is to stay married.

I know from experience that divorce causes a lot of financial hardship – even when there is no alimony.  Folks frequently have to sell their homes to divide the assets.  Setting up two households is expensive.

Try to stay married for your finances sake, if no other.

Tightwad Assignment – Get organized thumbnail

(March 19, 2009)One tightwad tip probably costs you nothing – get yourself organized.  Don’t miss payments and have to pay late fees.  Don’t overdraft accounts and pay fees.  Organizing yourself can prevent these added, and wasteful, expenses.

Plan your trips to the ATM so you can go to one that charges no fee.  Paying ATM fees is just dumb.

There’s a lot of software for organization – but you can get by just fine with a pen and paper.  Those are cheap.  Get going – get organized.

Tightwad Gourmet – Depression Cooking – Egg Drop Soup thumbnail

(March 18, 2009) – Once again, we turn to 91-year old Clara who teaches us about cooking during the depression.  Today’s recipe is Egg Drop Soup.  Don’t know how healthy it is, but this food kept people alive.

First, you peel and dice a potato.  Add olive oil to a deep pot and toss in the potatoes.  Dice an onion and toss it in, too.  Cook until the potatoes and onion brown.

Add salt, pepper and a bay leaf.

Fill the pot about half-full with water and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.  Break five eggs into the boiling water and stir to scramble them.  Break one more egg, but let it cook without further stirring.

Toast bread slices and put them in the bottom of bowls, then pour the soup over the bread.

Watch Clara and get further details.  Like most good cooks, she doesn’t really measure things.

Tightwad Assignment – Should you buy an extended warranty? thumbnail

(March 17, 2009) – When I worked in retail, the managers pushed us to offer extended warranties on our products.  To me, that was a sure sign that the store made a lot of money from them.

Think about it – paying a lot of money for a warranty on a relatively inexpensive product just doesn’t make sense.  The warranty is merely insurance.

Also ask how long the warranty covers the product.

If the warranty costs a substantial percentage of the purchase price of a new item, and the coverage is not very long, you’ll probably save money by passing on the warranty.