Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Misc. cheap ideas.

January always seems to be a lean month. Did you spend too much on Christmas like we did? Especially in these uncertain economic times, it is good to find ways to stretch a dollar and pinch a penny. Here's a few to consider:

Getting too little sleep is one of many things affecting the quality of my skin. Stress would be another! I've studied skin care, and ingredients and tried so many things. Nothing has helped lately! I don't believe much of the skin care marketing that I'm bombarded with anymore.

I'm wondering if this is one area where the obvious answer is not the most correct. Is the solution a counter-intuitive one? Perhaps.

I've come across a solution that is quite basic and is not what one might expect. Ever heard of oil cleansing? Common sense says that the last thing you want to do is put oil on your face if you have breakouts!

Well, I guess common sense can be wrong. There are many scientific reasons why OCM works well, but I won't go into it. I'll just say this - it is cheap and it works.

I decided to use OCM on Ralph's scalp today. Frequent bathing ruins his skin, so his scalp tends to be a little scaly. I massaged his scalp with equal parts castor oil and olive oil with a drop of tea tree oil, the same as I use on my face. With a bit of massage and a bit of combing all the scales are gone! I did use a little baby bath to get the oil out of his hair. I didn't think he would appreciate a steamy hot towel on his head!

I've got other ideas for castor oil! Another day.

Today is Wednesday (grocery store ads come out) AND payday. That's a great combination. Since I was up late to give meds at midnight last night, I went ahead and checked the new Dillons/Kroger ad for the week online. I have another window open to The Coupon Clippers and check to see which sale items also have coupons available. Occasionally I check Target and Kmart ads, too. But I rarely shop those stores.

Some weeks are better than others. This week is a Special K cereal week. It is on sale, there is a coupon and a free milk offer from the store. Over the summer I got some great deals on Suddenly Salad. I was able to stock up and still have a few boxes left now in January.

Here is another cheapish idea: When I use the pasta salad mix, I will use two boxes but use only one of the seasoning packets. When I'm lazy and I use a Hamburger Helper meal that has a topping sauce, I skip the sauce and save it as well. It's probably a good idea to use a marker and write on the envelope what the contents are.

I found a great use for these seasoning/sauce packets over Christmas. I use them to make easy cheese balls! The kids love it when I make these. I put 8 oz of grated cheese and 8 oz of cream cheese in my mixer bowl and let it sit out at room temp to soften up. When it is ready I mix them to death if I have time. I'll add the seasoning/sauce mix and a bit of milk to get the right consistency. Then I scrape it out into a bowl lined with plastic wrap, shape in a ball, and pop it in the fridge to firm up.

When the cheese is cold you can remove the plastic and roll it in chopped nuts or parsley or whatever you like. We had a couple of potluck cheese balls for New Year's Eve since I didn't know what was in my packets. One was cheese powder with a hint of jalapeno flavor (no heat) - must have been from a Hamburger Helper Mexican meal. The other was bacon ranch from a Suddenly Salad, delish!

Another great cheap idea is this: be a friend! A friend has kindly offered the services of her son to retrieve the lost files on my toasted computer. I would gladly pay for this, but they won't accept! You had better believe I'll be pleased to return the blessing to them one day, or simply pay it forward. Be on the lookout for ways to bless someone, whether you know them or not. It will come back to you.