The Frugality of Tin Foil – And so much more

To create tin foil takes tons of energy, so reusing it as many times as you can is the only thing that makes sense.

Reuse aluminum foil

Frugal people sometimes get teased for reusing items. For example, you might save aluminum foil to reuse later. While some may find that idea silly, frugal people know there are plenty of ways to put foil to good use.
How have you reused aluminum foil? Here are a few suggestions.


Wad foil into balls that are approximately 3 inches in diameter and use them to reduce static in your dryer. You can wrap a tennis ball in foil, too.


If you don’t like the dryer ball idea, you can wad the foil into a ball and use it to scrub pots and pans instead. One reader, Roxanne from West Virginia, shares: “That wadded-up foil will clean the barbecue grill, or at least take the bigger stuff off so you can clean the rack easier.” You can use the foil balls for cat toys or to scrub rust from chrome, too.


A flat piece can be used on your ironing board under the fabric cover to reflect heat. This will make your ironing faster because both sides of your fabric will benefit from the heat.



Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Sustainablity Has To Start Somewhere – Why not with your hair

That is right. I know this is an energy conservation blog. It is an environmental blog and an energy industry blog as well. But for awhile this is going to be a frugality blog. Think about it. At one level frugality and sustainable living start by “doing for yourself”. What is more easier and immediate than cutting your own hair. This site is much more than that but it is the first article.

Reader Story: Home Haircuts Can Save Time and Money

Sunday, 26th February 2012 (by J.D. Roth)

This guest post from Shannon D is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes.

My wonderful husband likes to keep his hair short and precise. He works outdoors but dislikes hats, so keeping his hair looking proper is important to him. We live in a rural area without a major chain hair cut shop. While we do have a small barber shop, their hours are very limited. This usually meant that for a monthly haircut we would drive 25 miles to the nearest mall to get his hair cut in the evenings or on weekends at a chain store.

While we usually tried to combine his trip for a haircut with other errands in town, we typically just made it into a dinner evening. So on top of the other costs, we often had an extra dinner out that we not have otherwise enjoyed.

We estimate our costs to have been the following:

  • $25 per trip in mileage
  • $18 haircut – including the tip
  • A solid two hours spent getting a haircut

With this happening once monthly, we were spending $516 per year — not including dinners — and 24 hours of time getting his hair cut.

Note: My own hair expenses are not cheap — not factoring in fuel since I get my hair cut while in town for work — and cost us about $300 per year.

We decided to try something different, not because of the money so much as the time and convenience lost making the commute just for a haircut. After my husband asking me several times, I finally got the confidence to try cutting his hair. I am no cosmetologist. My haircutting experience includes buzzing my brother’s hair — at his request — in high school and shaving my long-haired dog during the summer. And I should mention that my husband’s haircut is not a simple buzz. It made me nervous.



Go there and read as much as you can take. More tomorrow.


Saving Energy Can Save Peace Of Mind – I mean it saves money too

I know this and the following posts may seem off topic. What does simplicity or frugality have to do with home energy conservation. Well to use an extreme example, what if you simplified your life by using no generated electricity. So much in your life would change. No computer, no telephone, and no lights at night. While that would be thought of as extreme by some and it would only save my household a couple of thousand dollars a year, it is still an interesting concept. This blog here makes a good place to start.

Choose Simplicity
Thoughts on Voluntary Simplicity

Welcome to Clay and Judy
Woods’ homepage.

Many simplicity gurus urge us to become “tightwads” as the true path to a simple life. But voluntary simplicity and frugality are not really the same thing. To be sure, frugality is a vehicle for achieving simplicity, but the driving force is a vision, a philosophy, a world view.

If life were a poem, simplicity would be the poet, frugality the line and meter.

If life were a painting, simplicity would be the artist, frugality the paint and brushes.

If life were a building, simplicity would be the architect, frugality the hammer and boards.

Voluntary simplicity is about freedom. It’s about owning your own life. Frugality is living with less of what money can buy. Voluntary simplicity is wanting less.

Soon after beginning our partnership more than 35 years ago, we made a revolutionary discovery. It changed our lives then and it continues to make us “different” now. You’ve heard it before: “time is money.” What we discovered is that’s not true – time is better than money!

This revelation has allowed us to be content in our work or to change that work when it no longer satisfies. It has permitted us to spend less time acquiring things and more time acquiring experiences, insights, and relationships. It has encouraged us to lend a helping hand in our community, whenever the need arises, because we can make the time to do it. It has given us freedom and control of our lives.


Go there and read in much larger print. More tomorrow.


Off Grid Living – Site may be inactive but it has good content

Sometimes I find sites that appear inactive but I post them anyway because, like yesterday, they have something of interest. This is another one of those.

Off Grid Living-You Can Do It Too

January 21, 2009

More and more people are realizing that you can still enjoy modern amenities while enjoying the independence of off grid living.  Being off the grid means being exactly that, off the grid.  No power lines, no electric bills, and being free of utility grid demands, not to mention their ever-rising rates.  Off grid living is environmentally friendly and cost effective and it is an option available to almost any one owning a home.

The principles of off grid living may be applied to any home in the world, even those currently tied to the grid.  From solar panels, hydro power and windmills, there is growing curiosity in off grid living and breaking free from fossil fuel burning power plants.  The technologies have advanced and the costs have dropped greatly.
Even do-it-yourselfers can take leaps into off grid living with many kits, resources and manuals available for instruction.  As energy demands increase globally, those living off grid can rest easy knowing their own energy costs are diminishing.

The idea of off grid living can be scary to some who believe they will have to give up some of their most prized possessions and electronic gadgets to achieve such freedom.  This is very far from the truth.  Off grid living is simply about learning to moderate your use of electricity.  It can be as simple as turning off lights that are not really in use.  Purchasing appliances that don’t use energy when not in use (like clocks on microwaves and stoves).  Learning to unplug, not just turn off.  Things like computers and printers, well anything with the little green light that is always on, these items are stealing precious energy and adding to your bill.  Wanting to become part of the off grid living adventure, doesn’t always mean giving up everything, sometimes it just means getting smarter about the things you have.


Go there and read. More next week.


Living Off The Grid – Maybe the last post on the subject

Why is this my last post. Because I am running out of sources that’s why. At least Google is running out of sources. We shall see. I think this blog is inactive now, but I thought the video was kinda cool.


Living Off The Grid – Welcome Video 2

One of the most important aspects of living off the grid is our large garden.
Watch the following video about the fall garden and learn to live off the grid.

This past fall season has been a wonderful time for our family with the seeming extension of the growing season. One of our great challenges with being off the grid is growing food for the entire year.

This year the season has grown much longer than normal, as you probably saw in the previous video. Our garden truly is a focal point of our life, and for good reason.
With just a simple amount of foresight you too can extend your season.
Watch the video first and you will see what we mean. Why not try a bit of garlic in your own garden, or overwintered onions if you live in a warm enough climate. Garlic is one of those vegetables that anyone, regardless of skill can grow.
You will notice also, that I use the word lazy, for lack of a better reference to describe our gardening approach. Some people work like mad to get all of the weeds out, but you will notice we leave as much as possible, clearing only enough space to do away with close competition weeds.
Living off the grid can be a lot of fun, or it can be a lot of work if you let those small chores get out of hand. We prefer to leave the work to natural processes, which do the job much better, although perhaps a little slower. It seems to work very well for us here. The extra composting material may seem unsightly to some, but it’s just another excuse to have everything clean as a kitchen floor?
We prefer to work with the natural cycles of the seasons, let the compost worms do their job and leave the rest to winter to accomplish.
If you take the time to clear everything with a rototiller it does seem to overwork the soil as well.
Take a few minutes off and just let it go, you do have better things to do than to presume to do the job of nature.
Thus comes the description of lazy as described in the video, some think that is the case, I prefer to let those soil critters do their job, while I watch.
Part of the fun of living off the grid we think.


More tomorrow.


Life Styles Of The Off The Gridders – Gentle to the Earth

This article speaks for itself.

How Living Off the Grid Works


Off-the-grid Lifestyle

You’re excited about going off the grid now, right? You’re set to get your solar panels and septic tank. You have the well driller booked and you’re ready to say no to utility bills. Before you follow through on all these moves, you need to think about the lifestyle changes that come with going off the grid.

Even with solar and wind power, you’ll still need to limit your use of electricity. Most people interested in living off the grid do so at least in part to live a greener life, so conserving power goes hand-in-hand with this decision. With adequate solar and wind systems, you should be able to operate most of your electric appliances and gadgets, but not necessarily at the same time. If you’re using a hair dryer, avoid using the microwave. If you fire up the blender, unplug your space heater. Major electricity users like washing machines should be operated at night, when your other power needs are minimal. True disciples of the back-to-land movement wouldn’t use a washer and dryer anyway. Washing clothes by hand and using a clothesline is a rustic alternative.

The same goes for your water use. With a cistern system, in periods of little rain you might need to let the dishes pile up for a couple of days or limit your toilet flushes. Some people go so far as to turn off the shower water while they lather or wash their hair. Collecting additional non-potable water in rain barrels is a great way to water plants, wash dishes and keep your pets hydrated without dipping into your well or cistern.

Energy Star appliances are the most efficient on the market and a good way to save money on your bills. Look for the yellow stickers on the appliances when you buy them and compare the ratings. In addition to saving energy, the government offers rebates on Energy Star appliances, so you’ll be saving money as well. You should­ also switch your light bulbs to the energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Building A Cob House – It is not what you think

When I first saw the headline of this next site, I thought: can this be? I had heard of actual corn cob houses in rural America. They are basically slatted walls filled in with corn cobs and then finished inside and out. They are sort of a variation of hay bale houses. But this is way different.

Building a Cob House

By Off Grid Ebert

In a time in which we are increasingly hearing scary statistics about the fate of our planet, the way forward in the field of sustainable, green building may just be to go backward.  This is certainly the case for people demonstrating a growing interest in building earthen homes and structures using an ancient method known as cobwork or cobbing.  Cobbing, believed to have originated in the Maghreb as early as the 11th century, spread into wide usage across many parts of the rest of Europe as the main building style for homes.  The name of this style of building comes from the word cob, which is the name of the building material itself, formed of a mixture of earth (such as clay, sand, and other soil), straw, and water.  Despite what the materials may imply, this substance, when dried, is fireproof.  It is also inexpensive, and naturally cool in the summer heat and relatively easy to heat in the winter.

Many homes built of this material centuries ago still stand and remain in use.  Pictured here to the left is a cob house in England, believed to have been built in the late 1700s. (Photo by Tim Green, These homes typically have thatched roofs, while small but efficient fireplaces with chimneys provide warmth when the weather is cold.

The appearance and texture of cob varies from region to region, depending on the available natural resources and their characteristics.  As such, cob is one of the most versatile building materials on earth.  It can be molded and shaped into whatever form is framed by the builder.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Off The Grid – We move into survivalist land

Like I said in the beginning there are many types of people that want to be off the grid. The rich do it because they can. Many people do it to save money. Some people, like Thoreau, like the solitude or are paranoid. Then there are the survivalists. I do not agree with their theories or their ideology, but they are a part of the mix and this site is pretty explicit.

Talking to Friends and Family about Prepping

A number of readers have emailed me lately asking how they can convince their friends and family to start prepping.

To be honest this is a touchy subject, one that can often make even hardcore preppers feel a bit uncomfortable.

For some, the thought of talking to anyone about prepping fills them with feelings of anxiety. Just the thought of others knowing what preps you have is enough to fill anyone with a sense of paranoia . And who can blame them, lately it seems like every time we turn on the news another government agency is warning people about those dangerous preppers.

For those that do try to talk about the subject, trying to get their family and friends on board can be a headache to say the least.

From friends and family members that truly believe the government will save them in a time of crisis, to those that have been brainwashed by the media to believe that preppers are all  tinfoil hat wearing nutjobs, prepping can often be a touchy or even taboo subject to talk about. While we have touched on the subject in the past, I thought it was important to take another look at how we can help those we care about prepare for an uncertain future.

Dealing with those who believe the Government will help them in a time of crisis.

As a reader who recently wrote to me pointed out, 50 years of being programmed to believe that the government can help is hard to undo. We live in a society that is becoming increasingly reliant on the government to help them in every aspect of their lives. In fact over 67 million Americans now rely on government aid to pay for either housing, food, health care or education. That’s 1 in 5 Americans!

Most people simply don’t realize or believe that they are in any kind of danger. Most Americans live under the belief that the government will be there to help them in a time of crisis. So what can you do to change this mindset and protect those that you care about?

Use the Governments own advice.

Even the government advises people to be prepared. They will be the first to admit that during a time of crisis it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to respond in under 72 hours.

At the very least your friends and family should be prepared to survive at home without power, water and utilities for a minimum of 72 hours. While most of the governments advice is rather simplistic,  it may help you introduce the subject to those who depend on the government for everything.


It is a huge site. Go there and read. More Tomorrow.



Off The Grid Store – I am posting a hunk of his blog

This blog for this store has one chunk dated January 25th of 2012 and the first post listed as January 13. There is nothing more. So I do not know much about the store or the guy claiming to be Darin. It hasn’t been open long. According to a phto shoot caption they opened in early December 2011. I never endorse anything I have not actually tried and I have never ordered anything from this site. So buyer bewarier. As a man with a new business I am sure that he is too busy to blog and I disagree with his probable ideology as well. However new small businesses are very hard to keep alive so here he is, the Off The Grid Kid.

Me – Off The Grid as a kid

The first post is always the hardest post to write on a blog.  It’s like introducing yourself to a bunch of people and you can’t look them in the eye. I’m an eye contact person as I believe one on one communication is something this world could use a lot more of.  If people talked, they might be able to understand each other better instead of making blanket judgements based on assumptions.

I’ll give it my best shot.  My name is Darin and I’m the Owner of  I’m a 40 year old guy with 3 little ones, grew up in the woods of Northern Arizona.  Caught my first fish before I could tie my shoes and tell my boy hunting stories instead of bedtime stories.  I’m  a Patriot and believe that the United States is the greatest nation on earth but I don’t think we’re perfect.  I know we have a great foundation for this country (the constitution) but I’m afraid of what country my children will inherit if we continue down the road we are currently on.  I hope our country gets back on track and focuses on the principles of what makes us great.

I’m a former radio talk show host from Phoenix, Arizona.  In my previous career, I spent most waking hours following the news, watching what was happening and then talking about it to a large audience.  As I researched topics I was going cover on my show, I noticed that many times the mainstream media left out crucial details and portrayed the story in a way that wasn’t entirely accurate by my standards.  Eventually I became aware that in order to get the real story, it was important to look at all angles and formulate my own opinion versus just taking what I was seeing/hearing/reading as fact.

My “awakening” has led me to this adventure.  I hope the preparations I am taking will never be used in an emergency situation.  I hope the food, tools and other equipment I have accumulated will only need to be used when I am enjoying the great outdoors on my own terms.  But, my first priority is my family and I feel it is my responsibility to make sure my wife and kids are in the best possible position should a disaster strike.  They are relying on me and I will not let them down.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Living Off The Grid Has Gotten Sexy – Thanks to Natgeo’s Preppers

I have only seen one episode of Preppers so I am no expert. The show did seem intrusive because many of the “preparing for catastrophe” types are really sensitive to outside interest.  Some fear laughter, others fear exposing their hoards to people who might try to take them away from them, and others are just by nature isolationists. Also many of their theories about the impending “end of the world” are just plain incoherent. Thus painful to listen too. Most the off the grid people I know are not Preppers, they are, like me, cheap. They hate giving money to the utility companies.

What is living off-grid?
by LINDAM on FEBRUARY 11, 2012 – 1 Comment in OFF-GRID 101

The literal definition of living off-grid (or offgrid or living off the grid) is living without Utility power or water or waste disposal.

It can go further than this, to include being disconnected from the infrastructures that make life convenient, including roads, banks, schooling, doctors and so on. Even the Internet is a grid of sorts. Wikipedia has an extended discussion

In the absence of Utility electricity, energy needs are often supplied by solar, water or wind energy. (more…)

Go there and read. More tomorrow.