Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Less grid living

Going completely off grid is not an option for me.  The expense of solar panels and all that that entails is way beyond my limited budget.   Also, some off grid ways are just way to labor intensive.  I prefer to live with less grid instead.

I’m always thinking of possible ways to save even tiny amounts of energy.  This translates to saving money.  Every penny not given to a utility company can be used for other things.  Well, I’ve got a new to me idea.  On the last shopping day with my sister in law I was helping her search for a drink travel glass.  Her’s had cracked so she needed a new one.  She drinks diet soda and often takes a plastic travel glass with her.  While we were searching where the drink travel glasses were located I happened to notice this kind on the high shelf of an isle end.

It was pretty expensive compared to the plastic ones.  I can’t remember exactly how much and can’t find the receipt.  I believe it may have been on sale for about $5.  I convinced her it was a good price because it was insulated and said it would keep the drink cold for up to 18 hours.  She bought one and so did I.  I very rarely drink soda.  Usually only when I’m sick I’ll drink a ginger ale.  What intrigued me about this oversized glass was that it said it would keep hot drinks hot for up to 6 hours.  If it does then this could save me a few pennies in energy use.  How?

Well, I usually drink only one or two cups of coffee a day but take a sip now and then through the morning.  By lunchtime I’m through.  I’ve been using this coffee warmer to keep my coffee warm for me.  It’s meant for using at an office desk but I kept mine on top of the microwave.  I don’t know how much energy it uses but can’t be much.  I’ve looked at thermos bottles.  Have you seen the prices of them lately?  Wow that’s sticker shock.  $45 for just a small one.  That’s too pricy for me to save a few pennies.

I told myself IF the new drink glass actually does keep the drink hot for six hours that would be more than enough time to drink my coffee and I could unplug the coffee warmer.  So I tested it.  It holds about 3 of my size cup.  I’m not into “super size” which this glass is.  I made only two cups of coffee and put them in the glass.  I took a piece of masking tape to record the time on the outside of the cup to be sure I wouldn’t forget.  I wanted to know if it would really stay drinking hot.

Sure enough, the coffee stayed reasonably warm.  Not exactly hot until lunchtime.  I believe the plastic top is one reason for heat loss and also as I drink the coffee it has less liquid mass to keep the liner hot.

I do like it and I’ve put the coffee warmer into the donations box.  A penny saved is two pennies earned.  I’m finally able to take coffee with me on our shopping trips too.  Now if only they made a smaller size for one cup or in a kid size it would help.  Not all of us are super sizers.

You can find more posts on the ways I save energy by clicking on this category link “energy savings” or the one found at the bottom of the page.  The posts are from both where I used to live and here at this house.

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18 comments on “Less grid living

  1. T
    May 26, 2017

    Biggest scam in USA is health insurance masquerading as health care.

    But electricity seems as far as I am able to see equally deceptive. I certainly won’t be conned by ‘Green Mountain Energy’ in future, it’s a scam as far as I can see, over half the monthly charges have nothing to do with ‘green’ energy.

    I don’t understand Mcdonalds, but even if you must go there it’s not much for a soda or dollar cheeseburger?
    But think of how unhealthy it is and how much better to drink iced water from home.

    • Anita
      May 26, 2017

      The word green no longer has the same meaning as it did in the beginning. You have to be very cautious about anything labeled as “green” these days. Water is good and so is tea, lemonade, limeade, and a variety of fruit cordials made at home.

  2. T
    May 25, 2017

    I am very cynical about most things these days, I signed up for so-called ‘green’ electricity and have been suckered with it several times now; they give one rate then add a bunch off fees to the bill. I am starting t think it’s a scam. But when I looked for a company to change to it was all scams, ‘free’ electricity this hour and if you use more than so many kwh. Does no one just sell something in a straightforward way without trying to bamboozle people?

    Don’t get me started again on health insurance….biggest scam in the USA yet people seem oblivious.

    • Anita
      May 26, 2017

      You’re right about those sucker punch fees. Whenever there is anything truly good started the scammers quickly find a way to make money from it. The “green” movement started with a great idea and now it’s the scammers who make the most use of the phrase. The same with the “organic” movement. Started well enough but now the word organic is used to sell stuff. Organic does not mean healthy. Snake venom is organic but I’m sure it ain’t healthy.

      No matter what name the politicians give a health care plan; its really the insurance company lobbyists who are creating the health care plan. The one thing you can count on with ANY plan that’s voted into use is that it will be for the benefit of the insurance industry.

      We are all good little sheeple.

      • T
        May 27, 2017

        It’s really interesting Anita, food is one good example of where people are deliberately mislead in the US. All food has to be labelled with the nutritional content, but there are no controls on the ‘advertising’ labels so we get ‘non-GMO’, ‘organic’, ‘low sugar’, ‘no corn syrup’, etc etc and it’s often meaningless. In fact if something is ‘advertising’ labelled, check out the nutritional label, it likely has no natural goodness at all and the ‘this is healthy’ mislead is just a distraction.

        The health care issue is one that really bothers me as a Christian and advocate of social justice, but apparently according to the political blurb we are a ‘christian nation’ with ‘the world’s best health care’.

        It especially disgusts me that these hospital ‘businesses’ can so easily set up as ‘not for profit’, when they are just avoiding tax not providing free or affordable services for those in need as charities are meant to.

        Sheep and goats.

        • Anita
          May 27, 2017

          Even the required nutritional labels are misleading. A food can say its sugar free but on the nutrition label it will have sugar by other names. Honey, sugar alcohol, sucrose, barley malt, dextrose, rice syrup, etc. At last count I believe there was 61 different names for sugar. The effort food manufacturers put into hiding food additives from us is downright disturbing and scary. Not even uncooked or unprocessed food is safe anymore.

          Anything labeled “not for profit” or “charitable” these days is most likely just an avoidance of taxes. This includes churches, schools, thrift stores, hospitals, theaters, groceries, apartment buildings, and MANY others.

  3. Margie in Toronto
    May 24, 2017

    I’m lucky in that my rent includes my heating and water however, hydro electric is extra and rates here sjyrockedted last summer – so much so that the provincial govt. had to crawl back the rates and refund people! They are in serious danger of losing the next election over this issue. I’m pretty good at keeping lights off etc. but I’ve had to compromise over this summer’s A/C. I normally rent two units but I’m only putting a unit in the bedroom this summer to reduce the initial cost and the cost of the monthly electric bill. It will have to be a couple of fans in the living room.

    • Anita
      May 25, 2017

      I’m going to be doing that too. Use only one AC in bedroom with fans in other rooms. I don’t plan to use the AC unless I absolutely have to. Politicians? You’ve probably heard about ours on the world news. Here in the states they are ALL greedy. Dem or Rep doesn’t matter, they are the “haves” and the rest of us are the “have nots”.

  4. Tina
    May 23, 2017

    If you preheat the insulated drink glass it will probably keep your coffee warm longer. Just fill it with hot or boiling water and let it set for five minutes. Then dump out the water and pour in your hot coffee. I always do this and it makes a difference.

    • Anita
      May 24, 2017

      Thank you Tina, great idea. I’ll bee doing it too now.

  5. Lilly pickles
    May 22, 2017

    There are many things I would love to implement in our lives but they are definitely out of our budget. Even when I had money several years back, the engineer I worked with calculated the whole cost versus savings with solar and realized it was not the deal it was made out to be. That even included the tax breaks available. Meanwhile, I struggle with the little things. I hate the heat. Menopause probably makes it worse. I am doing pretty well keeping the A.C. Off but I am having a hard time giving up cold drinks. McDonald’s is my weakness. I bought two nice bottles for 1.50 at the thrift store. ( checked online and they were 24.00 a piece) I must remember to fill them and take them with me when we go out. Next month out income will drop to its lowest. The water dept is making changes. My 45.00 water bill had 65.00 in sucker punch fees added to it this month. That’s 1 month of service. No taxes or trssh, just water and sewer. 110.00 a month is crazy. I am going to have to apply for foodstamps. The lower my income falls the more outrageous fees we are charged. Politics may be in my future. Letters to many outlets in the works.

    • Anita
      May 24, 2017

      Here’s a mind trick that may help with your McDonald’s addiction. Get a slip of paper and pencil to carry with you every time you leave home. Everytime you AVOID buying MCD write it down on the paper. Write the amount you would have spent but didn’t. At the end of the month look at your total. What bill can you pay with that money you saved? Ok, maybe the opposite will work better for you? Write down the amount every time you do spend money at MCD. Either of these mind tricks will only work if you actually keep track and visually see it on paper. The problem with spending money is that its only seen in tiny amounts at the time of spending. Our mind says oh its only $5 and we think nothing more about it. But we can $5 ourselves broke before we realize it. When our eyes see the total it registers better in our mind. A mind trick. Understand?

      Our water and our sewer company are getting raises too. So is our gas and electric company. Don’t count on those food stamps. Those are being cut too. The top amount you can earn or get from SS is being lowered so there will be fewer people qualify. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

      Im working on some keep cool without AC ideas. I hope to get them made and tested in a few days. Sigh, not enough hours in the day.

      • Lilly pickles
        May 24, 2017

        I have stopped using my debit card. Somehow I am tighter with cash. Those dollar purchases add up fast. I told my son yesterday that I don’t have enough time left in my life to read all the things I want to learn about. Now off to start reading my new nursing textbooks. Classes start Monday and this old lady does not learn nearly as easy as she did at one time.

        • Anita
          May 25, 2017

          Yes, watching money disappear sure does help doesn’t it? Wow, a new nursing career. I’m in awe.

  6. Donna
    May 22, 2017

    What a good idea! My husband drinks 3 cups in the morning. I only drink one. I have a metal cup like this we take in the car. Stupid of me not to think to use it everyday instead of leaving on the pot! Thanks for the tip. This morning his coffee goes in the mug!

    • Anita
      May 22, 2017

      Not stupid, just hadn’t thought of yet.

  7. Leslie Saunders
    May 21, 2017

    I’m not saying it is true in Ky., but here in Az.,there are a lot of scams going on with solar panels/ companies. I’m encouraging any readers to check and double check any company or deal offered for solar. The Better Business Bureau is a good resource,along with your local utility company.
    Like your idea on the thermal cup. I use one to sip on iced coffee or tea during the day…it’s already 105 here!

    • Anita
      May 22, 2017

      I second you with thoroughly checking out companies. Seniors are especially preyed upon by scammers. 105 yikes! Isn’t early in the year for temps that high even in AZ?

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