Frugal Doesn't go out of Style



This week I made my favorite Granola recipe from a book called The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacycyzn. It was hugely popular in the 90's prompting many of us to Dollar Store DIY, dumpster dive, and join the ranks of the frugal and this week I realized that frugal doesn't go out of style! Don't worry, the recipe is below.


I loooved that book, my Sister-in-law and would call each other and spend hours talking about new ideas and how we could make things and save money. We talked about how we were sure that some item on the side of the road was going to be a masterpiece for our homes and how some DIY mix was only pennies a serving! My sister-in-law had the whole set of books!!! I was so jealous! But she shared her frugal secrets.


As my kids grew up and moved out I kept many of the habits I had learned from Amy Amy Dacycyzn and her series of books, but I let many slip away; I am happy for the reminder to step it up a little.


Looking through my well worn book also helped me make a connection between being environmentally responsible and fiscally responsible. Many of the actions I take, accomplish both goals. It's a win, win!



Here are some ideas to help you on your environmentally safe frugal journey:

Note: Some things cost "more" in the beginning, but less over the long haul.


  • Beeswax paper instead of plastic wrap: Pieces of cloth covered in beeswax, pine resin, and jojoba oil. These cloths soften by the heat of your hand and can be used the way cling film is used. There are several companies that make beeswax paper, my two favorites are Abeego and Beeswrap. I tried some without the pine resin, but found that it was too stiff and too difficult to manipulate around containers and recommend the ones with resin. They are also easy to re-wax or revive at home, in the oven, as they wear out #DIY.

  • Unpapertowels, Cloth Napkins, & rags: We have gradually moved to cloth products over paper products like paper towels and paper napkins. This is an area where you may spend more in the beginning, but less over time. I'm still using cloth napkins my grandmother had when I was a kid! Unpapertowels are brilliant!!!! We use https://www.marleysmonsters.com, but you could make your own. I don't have a serger on my sewing machine, nor do I love to sew, which made me happy to pay Marley's Monsters for a set p of Unpaper towels. I roll them up on a cardboard roll and use like paper towels, but toss in the wash instead of the trash. I also keep a bag or rags comprised of stained cloth napkins, old worn out washcloths etc. and I will use these on the rare occasion something is just so gross that I want to though the cloth out too.

  • DIY Mixes: The Tightwad Gazette had tons of DIY mixes and a cost breakdown of making it vs buying it. One good point, was that sometimes it isn't worth it to go through all the trouble and especially when it doesn't save you money, just buy it. That said, there are some values. Helpful mixes to have on hand are things like pancake mix, spice blends (I like Emeril's Essence), and hot chocolate mix, etc. they can save you time when it's time to make dinner.

  • DIY Baby Wipes: This recipe is from the Tightwad Gazette. I no longer use baby oil, because we avoid petroleum based products, but Jojoba oil works well. You do need to use microwave paper towels or, like us, use cloth rags. I still use these even though we don't have any babies running around anymore. I get sticky hands and make messes too.

  • Reuse! The best way to both save money and help the environment is to reduce and reuse. Is that a good container? Could you use it another way? When that shirt wears out try cutting it up in to rags. Cut the buttons off of shirts before you make them into rags and start a back-up button collection. Think like your great grandparents! How can I reuse this?? Start asking yourself that question before you purchase things.

  • DIY Playdough: I thought this was much better than the store bought, because it doesn't crumble as badly. I have long lost my recipe card, but found this one online. It is the best Modeling dough! I make it for the grandkids.

  • Make your own salad dressings. They are easy to make, better for you, and cheaper!! Here is one to get you started. I make homemade Ranch, Thousand Island, and Vinaigrettes on a regular basis and I try to make small amounts-enough for that night.

  • Not really a DIY, but Keep a budget!!!! This helps you know how frugal you are being as well as a help for living within your means and planning for things like the holidays or emergencies. There are some great apps and software systems out there as well as the basic envelope system.

  • OK...I didn't forget :D. here is the Granola Recipe:

HOMEMADE GRANOLA FROM THE: THE TIGHTWAD GAZETTE: PROMOTING THRIFT AS A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE - 1992

This is my favorite recipe, but over the years I've played around with reducing the sugars and oil to make a healthier version. ​ Try reducing the amounts to fit your family's tastes.

¾ cups brown sugar ( I use a few tablespoons)

1/3 cup honey 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I will often reduce this or use applesauce 5 cups oatmeal ½ cup dry milk ¾ teaspoon cinnamon Pinch of salt Mix brown sugar, oil and honey in a saucepan. Heat til the sugar is dissolved. Combine dry ingredients in a large cake pan.(I like to use a large sheet pan) Pour the sugar mixture over the dry mixture and mix well. (I have found that mixing well before putting it on the sheet pan works well) Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool in pan.


When it's time to eat, add raisins, nuts, coconut, or other goodies.. Store in an airtight container.



I may have reached back to the 90p's, but remember, frugal never goes out of style.

Share with us your favorite money saving or environment saving DIY's.


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