Good morning! It is still too cold to camp here, though we hope to play with the fire pit this weekend as we boil sap for maple syrup. So today, I’m going to make our oldest boy very happy! I’m making the first installment of pay to our techy son for helping with this blog—no bake cookies! No bake cookies are his all-time favorite cookie. I made them for 13 years of school birthdays and for many other activities. I don’t make them as much now and I was melancholy his senior year birthday, as I thought of all the times I had made them for school. One of his old classmates was sooo sweet this week. The husband recently saw her and she mentioned the good cookies our son used to bring to school. Little things can sure make me smile.
Even little things like sane levels of stockpiling can make me smile, well maybe not smile but at least ‘not grump’ when I open the freezer door. No bake cookies are placed on waxed paper to cool and set before being gobbled up (mainly because they will burn your tongue if you try to eat them with the spoon right out of the pan). But I’m frugal and don’t like to use waxed paper. At least there is a free alternative—cereal bags. Our youngest now likes cereal almost as much as I do, so I finally have a supply of cereal bags. I use the bags for quite a few things: no bake cookies, chocolate covered candies at Christmas, pretzels dipped in almond bark and especially between hamburger patties before they go in the freezer. I also use them as I stack food (like tenderloins) to pre-freeze before vacuum sealing. Even though I never reuse the cereal bags I use with meat, sometimes I have a rather large supply. It gets to be a very large supply when added to the butter wrappers and bread bags that I save.
I’m frugal and kind of lazy, so I store all my bags and wrappers in the freezer. This way, I don’t have to wash them out before storing and I don’t have to worry about encouraging ants or crumbs spoiling. I do try to dump out the crumbs, well usually I try or maybe that is just what I tell the husband. I use the cereal bags, bread bags and butter wrappers a lot, so at one time I just saved every one that came into the house. Not my best idea. Not even my frugal-est idea. My freezer quickly became overflowing with bags and wrappers. Some would fall out every time I opened the freezer. I would have to move a large handful to see what was on the shelf. When I cleaned out the freezer, I would throw handfuls of bags away and then find food I had forgotten was in there. It’s not very frugal to lose things in the freezer and then buy the same items over again for a recipe.
Now, I try to have one freezer door cubby for cereal bags, one for butter wrappers and one for bread bags. When their cubby is full –I tell myself (repeatedly) that I have plenty and stop saving them. Sometimes though, I try to wedge in as many as possible before they pop out of their designated spot. It is a lot easier to find and use the different bags/wrappers when they have their own spot. They are not mixed together, so I am not standing with the freezer door open as I look for a butter wrapper among all the bags.
Butter wrappers are very handy and frugal. I don’t use spray oil in the house (because I don’t want to buy it) and the butter wrappers are a free alternative. I use them to grease anything: cake pans, cookie sheets, muffin tins and pizza pans. I even use them to pat down rice crispy treats and scotcheroos, so I don’t get sticky hands.
Keeping the stockpile of wrappers and bags down to a manageable level has helped me organize the freezer and it also applies to other areas of the house. It even helps in the camper. I have many stockpiles (or really just piles) of stuff in the camper: dishes, sheets, clothes, books, toys….. Our house is smaller and we have 2 small sheds instead of a garage, so the camper can become a catch-all place for everything I don’t want to get rid of, if it doesn’t fit in my sewing room.
Have only 2 twin beds but 10+ twin sheets? Bet I will use them in the camper.
Too many children’s books for the 3 ½ bookshelves in the house? Bet I will use them in the camper.
Lots of worn but still usable washcloths and towels? Bet I will use them in the camper also.
It is nice to have extras in the camper. I love not hauling everything from the house every time we go camping. Sometimes there are emergencies and it’s great to share extra sheets and blankets when your families’ tent gets rained on. I especially love having extra shoes in case we go wading in the creek. But 6 twin sheets for 1 twin bed spot are excessive.
I am now trying the wrapper and bag system in the camper. Toys should all fit in the cubby under the couch, I just won’t remind the husband about the outside toys and huge box of Rescue Heroes in the outside storage cubbies. I am down to 2 cubbies for towels and washcloths. At least the sheets and pillowcases fit in one cubby-even the full and queen sheets!
Some things, like sheets, can quickly build up to an excessive stockpile. It’s too easy to grab a few extra sheets at garage sales if the price is great. Now, sheets are on my ‘Don’t Buy’ garage sale list, unless I have a specific project for them. Children’s books and toys are also supposed to be on my ‘Don’t Buy” list, but that is waaay harder to follow.
Thankfully, some things are wise to always have a large stockpile of. For our family, I buy larger quantities of hand soap, butter, baking supplies and meat, when they are on sale. I miss the 2 year supply of razors and shampoo from my couponing days. Coupons amounts have changed though, our local stores don’t double coupons and it’s not frugal if I print out lots of coupons and don’t use them, so I just watch for sales. Soon, I will be watching for butter sales. Easter and Thanksgiving are usually great times to stock up on butter. It is often half of the regular price, so I will buy 15 or more when I can afford it. Butter lasts great in the freezer. Flour does also, if you have the freezer space. When I run out of freezer space for flour, I freeze it for a few days and put the whole bag of flour in a vacuum seal bag. Then it will last in the cupboard and not attract bugs.
Stockpiling certain items like flour, butter and even butter wrappers can really help save money. It can even make me smile when I decide what sane level of stockpiling each item should have. It’s much more enjoyable to open the freezer and not have bags fall on me or not to be using one whole cubby in the camper for just twin sheets. Our oldest techy son definitely likes it when I can find the cereal bags to make him no-bake cookies. Please share with us what levels of certain items work for you to stockpile or maybe, like me, you have a ‘Don’t Buy’ list you would like to share.
Happy Camping (or choosing your levels of stockpiling)!
The Frugal Campasaurus