Some frugal living tools that are worth investing in
Some of the tools that I mention here are definitely worth investing in, if you are serious about living a frugal life, a simple one. They will just make things so much easier, and safer. Don’t go into debt to buy them. Save and pay cash. Look in the classifieds. Search garage sales. Get the word
out and see if you can find someone who doesn’t use theirs anymore and might give you a great deal.
A dehydrator is a great tool to help preserve your garden produce. It is also a great tool to help make your own snacks, like fruit leather, yogurt leather, beef jerky, fruit snacks and things like that. You can do some of these things in the oven on low heat, but it is much safer and easier to use a dehydrator.
There is no one particular dehydrator that I recommend. They range anywhere from about $80 up to a few hundred dollars. Do your research and depending on what you can afford, by the best for your price range. One that has a temperature control, timer, and blows from the back across all racks evenly, is probably the best. I am going to refrain from giving out my preference on name brands here, just do the research and you will find out the ones that are better than others.
A good quality pressure canner is a must if you are going to be canning garden produce. If you just want to can fruit or other high acid foods, then you can probably get away with just a water bath canner. However, if you want to get serious and start canning vegetables, meats, soups, and things like this, you really need to invest in a pressure canner. There are many varieties and name brands out there. My only suggestions are to purchase one that doesn’t use the ring as a seal, metal on metal offers the longest wear and tear. Buy one that has a pressure gauge that you can watch, and buy one that has a vent in the lid. A vent will stop the lid from blowing off if you walk away and forget you are cooking. It will help to release the pressure and it will usually make enough noise that it will call you back really quick if you forget. The pressure gauge is a must for me too, because I can monitor it closely while regulating the pressure by the temperature of the stove. The metal on metal seal is my favorite because you do not have to worry about replacing the rubber ring. The rings tend to wear out and will not let your canner build up pressure.
If you have a yard of any size, it is fairly easy to set up some form of a clothesline. There are many different types out there, so even if you are renting your home, you can purchase one that is easily taken down if you need to move. A clothes line will save you a lot of money in your energy bill. It will also save you some health as well, due to the fact that most driers produce so much fuzz and lint that settles in our home and we breathe it in. A clothes line helps to disinfect the clothes also, as the sunlight is a natural purifier. If you really don’t like the crispness of clothes after they come off the line, then you can easily throw them in the drier for five minutes with a damp cloth to soften them up just a bit. Five minutes is still saving so much more energy than 45 minutes or an hour.
Crock Pot or Slow Cooker
A crock pot can become a life saver on those days that you know ahead of time you are not going to have time to cook supper. They are fairly inexpensive, a simple one will do. The recipes and ideas are pretty much unlimited. The internet is full of them. I use mine most often to make soups or to cook a roast or chicken. Something that you can put in first thing in the morning and leave all day, and still have a delicious dinner prepared. Make ahead freezer meals are very popular these days and the recipes are abundant on the internet and in libraries.
A deep freeze can be a great investment if you have the space for it. It is nice to be able to freeze some of your garden produce if you don’t have the proper pressure canners. It is nice to be able to make ahead meals, breads, and other yummies that you can freeze and pull out for quick meals and snacks. However, a deep freeze can be a bit expensive. Sometimes you can find them on second hand sites for cheap. Again watch garage sales and get the word out that you are looking for one, and you will find one within your price range. Small ones can be purchased for not very expensive.
A food processor is a nice tool, especially when you start growing your own garden and preserving your food. It is nice when you are cooking a lot of things from scratch. These can range from pretty inexpensive, to really expensive. I have purchased a few of the inexpensive ones through the years, and have found that this is one thing, if I am going to purchase again, I will save the money and buy myself a really good one. I think a really good one, has a much more powerful motor, and a bunch of attachments. Again, I am not going to name and specific brands here. Do your research and make an educated purchase on what you find and what your budget allows. I just know that it is a tool that makes slicing, dicing, chopping, kneading, and beating so much easier and quicker.
A bread machine can be a great tool, and can be purchased for fairly inexpensive. I have one, but I rarely use it right now because when I make bread, I make big batches so I can put a few in the freezer. There are times though when I want to mix up a batch of dough for pizza bread, buns, garlic breads and things like this. I will use my bread machine to whip up a batch of dough to use. I think if you are a small family, a bread machine is a great investment. My daughter will use the timer delay on her bread machine so they have a fresh loaf of bread when they wake up in the morning. It is a great tool if you use it. The internet is again full of recipes of things that you can make in your bread machine.
A Home Library
A library at home, full of the best books, is worth every penny of the investment. You will find that you will reference them often. I am not saying spend a lot of money on novels, even though some of them are worth it, I am saying purchase books that you find will help you in your learning and growing. Build a library of reference books and classics, that will be valuable for generations to come.