One of the most difficult things about becoming more frugal is breaking out of the mindset that you must have the right product for every need. For example, it is possible to crush garlic without a garlic crusher, by using a knife. It is possible to liquidise soup without a liquidiser, by pushing it through a sieve, although it is laborious. It is possible to mash potatoes without a potato masher, by using the end of a rolling pin (in fact this is a better way of making e.g. swede mash which is tough to do with a potato masher). The kitchen seems to be a particular place where manufacturers like to sell us gadgets we don't really need.
I remember years ago making a measuring jug out of a 1 pint milk bottle. I filled the milk bottle with water, then shared the water between two milk bottles until the levels were the same. Then I marked that as my "half pint" level. Repeat the process to get a "quarter pint" level. Add a quarter pint to a half pint to get the "three quarter pint level" and so on.
I wrote this post because yesterday I tried out a method for making bread in the microwave. Of course I needed a microwavable loaf tin - or did I? I could have bought one from the Lakeland shop a short drive away. Or I could look in the cupboards and find a variety of rectangular plastic containers, including washed margarine and ice-cream tubs, which would do a good job. In the end I opted for yet another solution - I made a cottage loaf instead.
It's rewarding being ingenious, and once you get in the habit it gets easier to think of creative frugal solutions to problems. I thought it would be fun to pick your collective brains and see what lateral solutions you can come up with to the following situations:
- How can you make a recipe calling for 2oz butter, 4oz flour, 2oz sugar without weighing scales?
- How can you make macaroni cheese without a cheese grater?
- How can you dry clothes with a clothesline but no pegs?