Peg

About Peg

My name is Peg Cheng and I'm a writer, solopreneur, and Prelaw Guru living the fab and frugal life in the city. I started this blog to chronicle how I'm learning to buy less and live more.

Favorite Free Thing: Outdoor Trek 2014

Spock & Peg, Summer 2013If you read my post last summer on Outdoor Trek, then you know how much I love their free, live Star Trek TV show reenactments in the park!

If you live in or near Seattle, you’re in luck. They’re doing it again.

In 2014, the Star Trek episode performed will be Mirror, Mirror. Performances are July 19, 20, 26 & 27; as well as August 2 and 3.

I’m not sure which show I’ll be at but I’ll definitely be at one of them. Come early and bring a picnic dinner or snacks. Also, bring some bucks to donate at the end of the show. (Technically, this is one of my “favorite free things,” but I do believe in rewarding artists for their performances.)

For more info about Outdoor Trek and their performances, read my post from last summer and follow their production company Hello Earth on Twitter @hello_earth.

If you go, please stop by my row and say, “Hi.” I’d love to see you!

Photo of me and Spock by Marcus Donner.

Buy herbs & spices in bulk

Spice JarsOne of the easiest ways to cook up tastier food is to add more herbs and spices.

One of the cheapest ways to buy herbs and spices is to buy them in bulk.

I recently filled up several of my herb and spice jars at my local food co-op, the PCC. See photo above. I also recently cooked with all of them, which is why they aren’t all the way full (they were full when I bought them).

On Amazon.com, a 0.7-ounce jar of Spice Islands brand thyme costs $9.16. Crazy! At the PCC, I filled up the same jar with thyme for only $1.22.

Even crazier, a 0.3-ounce jar of Spice Islands parsley costs $7.58. How much did my bulk parsley cost? 43 cents.

Last but not least, you will probably pay $6 for 0.6-ounce jar of oregano. Highway robbery! How much did I pay for the oregano in bulk? 28 cents. Yes, hello, 28 freakin’ cents.

If I had bought these online or at the grocery store, it would have cost me $22.74.

Buying them in bulk cost me $1.93.

That’s a savings of $20.81.

That’s enough to buy a ton of vegetables or a really beautiful flank steak to cook with the herbs. Making one small change to the way you shop can save you a ton of money.

Thyme jar with TAREAlso, bring your own jars.

That way you can buy just the right amount of herb or spice to fill your jar and you don’t have to waste more plastic or paper bags or twist-ties.

All you have to do is go up the cashier and have them weigh the jar for the tare weight. Mark this on the jar. For example, this jar’s tare weight is .26.

FYI, 4134 happens to be the code # for bulk thyme at the PCC.

When the cashier rings up your herbs and spices, he or she will subtract the tare weight from the gross weight so that you are only paying for the actual herb or spice and not the jar.

Easy-peasy! And by reusing your jar, you’re helping the environment.

By the way, if you don’t have spice jars, buy empty ones in the bulk aisle (convenient, isn’t it?) at most grocery stores or at your local Goodwill or secondhand store. They will cost 50 cents to $1-2 each, which is a lot less than buying a new bottle of herbs or spices.

So next time you’re running low on seasonings, go SUPER FRUG and take your jar with you to the grocery store to buy your herbs and spices in bulk.

Your taste buds will thank you and so will your wallet!

ps. Even though I’ve been buying herbs and spices in bulk for years, bringing my own jars to refill at the store was inspired by Bea Johnson’s book, Zero Waste Home.

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Zero Waste Home by Bea JohnsonI love Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson.

It is exactly the kind of smart, stylish, practical, frugal, minimalist, conservation home guide that I’ve been looking for.

But I didn’t know I was looking for it until I happened to run across a little blurb in Sunset magazine that said that Bea’s family of four only produces one quart of garbage per year.

That’s right.

One quart.

Can you believe it?

I had to find out more. Which led me to this slide show article on Sunset’s web site called “The zero-waste home.”

After looking at the inspiring slides and reading the article, I put Bea’s book on hold at the library. I checked out her blog and her top tips. When the book came through after a few weeks, I devoured it in a day. Then I read it again.

Zero Waste Home is chock-full of great tips and examples of how Bea and her family have been able to reduce waste, reduce consumption, save money and still live a fabulous and fun life. It is a book after my own heart.

I’m so inspired by this book that my next blog posts will detail how I’ve put Bea’s tips to work in my home and in my life. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out the book!

NOTE: The book links on this page are affiliate links, so if you end up using any of them for your own online shopping, Super Frug will benefit (thank you!).

How to read magazines for free

Samsung TabletThis is our Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet. Marcus got it for free last year as part of a freelance photo gig for Samsung.

I haven’t been that interested in using the tablet until recently.

You see, I love magazines.

You’re probably thinking, and how is that related to the tablet, Peg? Keep reading…we’re gettin’ there.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been devouring magazines. I love reading articles, looking at pretty pictures, and learning new ways for doing things.

But even though I love them so, when I was in my 20s, I swore off subscribing to magazines because I was sick of all the advertising (ugh) and all the paper (such a waste of trees). And the fact is, even though I love them, I found that I could live pretty happily without them.

Now I know you can read magazines for free at the library but you can’t check them out. You have to read them there. And most of the time, II don’t want to read magazines in the library. I want to read them at the dentist’s waiting room, at home or on a plane.

Speaking of which, when I fly, I usually treat myself and buy one magazine at the airport. It’s my guilty pleasure. But this week, as I was getting ready for my trip to Philadelphia, I was browsing online at the Seattle Public Library and discovered that I could “check out” magazines for free.

That’s right, folks, you can read magazines for free!

If you live in Seattle, go to this library page and click on Zinio magazines at the bottom.

Once you create your login, you can then choose from 150 magazines to check out. If you don’t live in Seattle, check out your local library’s web site. I am sure you will find a link that takes you a database of magazines that you can check out for free.

150 free magazines?

Music to a former magazine maven’s ears!

Zinio allows you to read these magazines on your computer, tablet or smart phone.

So, here’s why I now love our tablet. Look how awesome this Saveur magazine looks on it!

Saveur on tabletCheck out the crystal clear photos and easy-to-read text.

Saveur page on tabletLooks just like a magazine, doesn’t it?

Tablet in handWell, close enough.

Now I can read magazines without spending a dime or wasting a single tree. I am one happy Super Frug reader.

Fab and Frugal Valentine’s Day

Sweethears Candy BoxI love holidays.

One of my favorite holidays of the year is Valentine’s Day.

One of my favorite memories of this special day is back in grade school when my classmates and I would deliver valentines and candy to each others’ “mailboxes” (cardboard boxes or large, manila envelopes decorated with hearts and labeled with our names) and then during the last hour or so of class, we’d have a big party and open up our valentines.

The party almost always involved Hawaiian punch, heart-shaped cookies with sprinkles, little tubs of vanilla ice cream eaten with small wooden paddles (remember those?), and lots and lots of candy.

Ice_Cream_tubAfter about 20 minutes of blissful gorging, the party would usually devolve into pandemonium as we got high on sugar and started running around like madmen.

Good times.

Now, as an adult, I try to hold onto that giddy feeling that I had as a child on Valentine’s Day.

The day should be graced with things and activities that make you happy.

Most of the time, these are simple pleasures that don’t cost a lot of money.

flowers for V-dayLike a bouquet of cheery flowers…

Theo Chocolate BarsOr your favorite candy bar…why not have two?

Iced Animal CookiesOr your favorite cookies from childhood…

Valentine's MessageOr leaving a loving note for someone special…or discovering a loving note left for you!

Marcus and I spent Valentine’s Day appreciating each other and doing things that we both love: eating excellent barbeque, viewing awesome art, and seeing a movie at the theater.

It was a beautiful day. And it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Hope your Valentine’s Day was wonderful too!