Guest Post: Frugal Summer Living Tips
This is a guest post by Jennifer Young, who blogs at A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That
Plant a small garden
While this is not possible for some (I couldn’t even get tomatoes to survive on my patio with all the loving deer in my yard!), you can plant a small vegetable garden to save money on summer produce. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, and herbs like basil are very easy to grow. And, many things freeze well too, so you can enjoy them throughout the year. This is a great article on container gardening that details what grows best in containers or small spaces . There are also great, free printables for garden planning here.
Learn to can your own fruits and veggies
Ok, I admit it. I’ve never done this myself. I know it’s not hard, I’m just afraid of the unknown. My mom used to can tons of stuff when I was growing up: tomatoes, peaches, pickles. These things (and more) are all abundant in the summer months. Just think of all the money you could save by just canning your own tomatoes alone. They could be used for tomato sauces, pizza, chili—any recipe calling for diced or crushed tomatoes. Check out these detailed instructions here.
Visit your local farmer’s market
I live in Pennsylvania, so there are lots of farmer’s markets for me to choose from. Hopefully you have some where you live too! This is a great site to locate farmer’s markets near you. Not only are these markets great for finding fresh, local produce, many times there are local vendors who sell meat, cheese, soap, baked goods, honey, and more. I find farmer’s market’s to be hit or miss in the frugal department. Sometimes you get good deals, sometimes not. But, I really love fresh-picked produce and supporting local businesses!
Alternative cooking methods
Fire up the grill and plug in the crock pot! Give your stove and oven a break as much as possible. Heating up the kitchen during the summer is just miserable. It makes me want to ditch dinner and eat ice cream instead of cooking. I think we can go a whole summer on one propane tank for the grill. Frugal and grilled food tastes SO good. You can also use the “fill the grill” method: put as much meat (or veggies) you can fit on the grill and use whatever you don’t eat that night for planned leftovers. We all know that from simply a cooking standpoint, using the crockpot is a frugal alternative. I’ve read many articles on crockpots being more energy efficient than ovens. And, you avoid heating up the kitchen at the same time!
About Jennifer: Jen is wife to Mr. Incredible, mommy to Dash and *tries* to balance a career in commercial real estate during the day. She loves good deals with all her cheap-skatin’ heart! Along with books, coffee, country music, board games and the Lord. She is always super nice to Shannon, so she doesn’t post pictures of her really big high school hair. Jen blogs about nothing in particular over at A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That.
A note from Shannon: Jen and I went to school together. She did have really big hair back in the late 80′s and early 90′s. I am not sure what we were thinking back then, but the higher the better.