Saturday, May 10, 2014

Frugal Spotlight: Mother's Day Edition

Mom on Easter Sunday

In honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to share some wisdom from a frugal woman who came before me, my mom. Both my parents enjoyed life, but never overspent. They found joy in simple things like daily walks, and working in the yard, but we kids (five of us) kept them pretty busy in our younger years. My mom was active in community theater, loves her yoga and can often be found watching one of her six grandkids, or working in the yard (or, very likely sprouting some who knows what in the kitchen). 

Because they were wise with their money they were able to put their money where it mattered, and are able to enjoy a retirement with a fair amount of travelling, golfing, and whatever else it is that makes retired people happy (although they watch my daughter before and after school almost every day, so I don't know if that qualifies as total retirement). 

I asked my mom, Margy, her favorite frugal tips. Without further adieu...

Tip one:


Homemade Mayonnaise
1 coddled egg (To coddle an egg, simmer an egg in it's shell (in not quite boiling water) for 1-2 minutes.
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp of Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup of olive oil
You can use a blender or small deep mixing bowl with an immersion mixer (the preffered method for me).  Slowly pour oil in while mixing with other ingredients.
This makes about 1 cup and can keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge and tastes so much better than store bought mayo. I like a little extra lemon for added tangy flavor.

Tip two:

Seed Containers

My mom is an avid gardener. She often starts seedlings in the house.  She saves various containers such as plastic clam shell containers to start the seeds in (just pokes holes in the bottom for drainage), or reuses one from the nursery.  She waters these gently by using a water bottle that has holes poked in it's lid.


My little brother and I, in early 1980s garb, "helping" Mom in the yard.
That plain old dirt patch is now a thriving flower bed.
Tip three: 

Better Butter

We grew up with something called "Better Butter" in my house.  It's a way to stretch pricey butter, and makes an easily spread for toast and the dinner table. 

Better Butter is one of the simplest things to make as it only has two ingredients: Butter and oil.

My mom uses olive oil, but in the past probably used vegetable oil. Mild flavored oils work best.

Simply take room temperature butter and add oil and blend until you get a yogurt like consistency.  It will firm up a bit in the fridge. It's much healthier than margarine and other spreads with the trans fats.

Because of my mom's example, the frugal life never seemed that hard or scary, it just seemed sensible.  Of course there were adjustments I had (and still do have to make) along the way, but having a great teacher sure does help. 

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


Mom and Dad at their shared 70th Birthday party.