Posted on November 22nd, 2011
I’m so excited this week is finally here, and it’s not because of the large quantities of turkey and pumpkin pie I’ll be consuming on Thursday. No, this week is the best week of the year because my childhood friends are back.
That’s right—“The Muppets” is premiering this week!
The whole gang will be there, from Kermit and Miss Piggy to Sweetums and Crazy Harry, and you know you can’t wait to spend two glorious hours reminiscing with all of them.
The Muppets’ comeback also has me reminiscing about their other great big-screen moments. And I realized (being a personal finance blogger and Muppet fan, of course), that these Muppets sure are frugal. Here are a few particularly frugal Muppet moments, and how you can make them work in your life, too.
In “The Muppet Movie,” Kermit and the gang drive cross-country to pursue their dreams in Hollywood and pick up a new Muppet or two at each stop. They know how to pinch a dime along the way. (Muppets are notoriously broke.) Instead of staying at a swanky hotel, Kermit, Fozzie, Rowlf, Gonzo and Camilla camp on the side of the road.
Save a few bucks on your own vacation by following the Muppet code and “roughing it.” Check out Recreation.gov or Go Camping America to find a campsite near your destination. Just make sure to bring along the harmonica for the inevitable sing-along.
The Muppets take to the skies in “The Great Muppet Caper,” but instead of flying first-class—or even economy—they choose to travel in style in the cargo hold. They even avoid expensive cab rides from the airport by parachuting out of the plane and directly to their destination.
Since the TSA will likely refuse your requests for cargo hold travel, search for the cheapest flights by using sites like Kayak, which compares prices on hundreds of travel sites, or Airfare Watchdog, where you can set up fare alerts to be delivered directly to your email inbox.
In “Muppets from Space,” the entire gang bunks together in a large, Victorian-style home. True, weird things happen there. Gonzo sees messages in his cereal, penguins use the tub for their own personal waterpark, and mounted moose heads dance. But I’ll bet each Muppet saves hundreds of dollars each month by rooming with 20 or so of his closest friends.
While you might not consider sharing your bathroom with a waddle of penguins, do consider renting out a spare bedroom or even getting a roommate if you find yourself struggling to make rent or mortgage payments. Check out airbnb.com, if you don’t mind offering your place as a vacation destination.
When it comes to celebrating the holidays, no one does it better than the Muppets. The whole gang gathers to celebrate in “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” Not only do the Muppets tell a tale that’s in the public domain (which means you can read the entire text of Dickens’ tale for free), but they also invite neighbors, friends and former enemies together for a traditional holiday feast. Everyone brings a dish and shares the cost.
Take this holiday season to come together with others and share what you have. Nine times out of ten, they’ll share what they have, too. Now that’s frugal and festive!
Have a fun and frugal Thanksgiving!,
Bethy Hardeman, Social Media Maven
Posted on September 15th, 2011
One of my favorite hobbies is making delicious food, and pair that with another passion of mine — saving money—and the result is one fantastic cookbook. Co-authors Lara Starr and Lynette Shirk are the talented individuals behind “The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook,” a book filled with inexpensive recipes and cooking tips for all occasions.
Gourmet recipes on a budget
For those who like to throw dinner parties on a budget, try the Peek-a-Boo Shrimp Rolls. This recipe makes 12 rolls filled with vegetables and noodles wrapped in rice-paper while only using 1/2 pound of shrimp, which can be a pricey protein when you’re feeding a large group.
If you’re planning a meal for a more intimate group, the Steak Au Poivre is an excellent option. To cut down on the cost of the expensive ingredients required for the sauce, the recipe suggests buying a cheaper mini-bottle of brandy or cognac instead of springing for an expensive bottle that you won’t use entirely.
By following these recipes and stretching expensive ingredients where you can, your finished product will taste great without emptying your wallet.
Money saving tips
Sprinkled throughout the chapters of recipes are “cents-able solutions” with advice from how to save money by planning meals a week at a time to staying on budget by growing your own produce at home.
One of the tips I found most useful discusses “Savvy Substitutions” to use if you run out of an expensive ingredient. To avoid an unnecessary trip to the store just to track down capers, try using finely chopped green olives instead. The section also suggests mixing water and sugar if you’re out of corn syrup.
By using ingredients you might have laying around at home instead of going out to buy specialty ingredients, you’ll save yourself time and money.
Frugal food for all
This cookbook has something for everyone, whether you’re a novice cook looking for frugal culinary inspiration, or a budding chef searching for ideas to cut down on your food costs. Starr and Shirk do a great job of mixing sophisticated recipes with frugal tricks and tips. From “Bankable Breakfasts” to “Dinners on a Dime,” this cookbook will keep hungry readers coming back to learn new and inexpensive ways to prepare meals.
Give credit where credit is due,
Danielle Belfatto, Karma Contributor
Want to win a copy of the “Frugal Foodie Cookbook”?
Listen up! All you have to do is answer the following question in ten words or less:
“What’s your best frugal food tip?”
Send your responses to email@example.com! We’ll choose our favorites and randomly pick a winner! You have until 6pm PST on Tuesday, September 20.
**The “Frugal Foodie Cookbook” is available for sale at Amazon.com.