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Monday Q&A | Spray Build-up, Favorite Blogs, and Cell Phones vs. Landlines

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

Like you, I am a big fan of Pyrex and I also use cooking spray, though not always a name brand. Do you ever get buildup on the outer edges of your baking dishes? I have some stubborn spots on the handles that just don’t come clean. Any frugal cleaning tips?


Sometimes that happens to me, despite my efforts to keep the spray contained to the actual cooking surface. I find that something like an SOS pad is pretty helpful for those baked-on grease spots, and since you’re talking about Pyrex dishes, the SOS pad won’t hurt the dish (I wouldn’t use that if you’ve got a greasy buildup on a nonstick pan!)

I am inspired by your blog and the post this week about the tightwad gazette. What blogs do you read that inspire you?


I wrote a post about that a little while back, but I kind of need to update that list, I think. I no longer read a few blogs on that list and there are some I didn’t include.

Here are three blogs that I always look forward to reading:

Small Notebook-I just love Rachel and I think she must be a kindred spirit because she’s always posting things that I would think of posting myself!

-SouleMama-Following along with her farm-life journey is really interesting, probably because it’s so different from my life.

-Enjoying the Small Things-I’ve written about her blog before, but I’ll say again that Kelle’s optimistic attitude in the face of difficulties is lovely. And since she persists in being cheerful despite criticism for that (Dear Internet Public: Why must you hate people who choose to see the glass as half full?), I love her even more.

Just wondering what your thoughts are regarding cell phones and landline phones. It just kills me that we are paying so much money for both! I’m just wondering if I should cancel my landline and save $35 per month, but cell phones seem like such a rip-off too.


I think choosing one over the other can definitely make sense. Thus far, we’ve chosen to keep our cell phones bill minimal by using pre-paid cell phones and then we have our regular phone service through Vonage.

There’s no one right answer for this question, unfortunately! I’d take a hard look at which service you use more and then cut back on or eliminate the one you don’t use as much. If that’s your landline, perhaps there’s a very minimal package that you can sign up for, or if it’s your cell phone, you could consider a pre-paid simple phone like mine.

You’ll want to take things like long-distance calling into consideration (Does your landline offer free long-distance? If it doesn’t, a cell phone plan might save you money.), access to 911 services (Is that still an issue with cell phones?), and how hitched you want to be to your phone (I personally choose not to have a smartphone because I fear I would use it too much!)


Readers, how have you handled the landline/cell phone issue at your house?


Today’s 365 post: I know it’s a little weird…

Joshua’s 365 post: Zoo pictures and a lolhamster!

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Wednesday 2nd of May 2012

We use T-Mobile pre-paid for our two cell phones. It's pretty much just used between hubby and I. And I have a Skype account for any calls I can do on Skype, as well as video chat with my parents who live in Europe.


Tuesday 1st of May 2012

I hate that buildup from cooking sprays--nothing gets it off metal pans! I use a pump oil sprayer (someone else mentioned Mr. Mister, but there are others out there). Not only can I refill it with my own oil, but no more spray cans are being thrown in the landfill on my behalf. And I'm not putting propellant and who knows what into the air in my house and into our food.

For baking in particular, Witon (cake decorating supplies) makes something I think they call "Cake Release". A local cake decorating supply shop sells their own version in tubs, and if you look on the net you can find recipes to make your own.

A little of this stuff goes a LONG way, so it's very frugal, even though the ingredients to make it yourself are not inexpensive (it has lecithin in it). (I always thought this would be a great homemade gift for fellow bakers put up in squeeze bottles with a cute instruction label). It's pricey but it lasts forever. And it has NEVER once failed to release bake goods perfectly. It has stuff I don't like to eat like soy oil, but you use so very little I don't worry about it. You have to brush it onto the baking pan surfaces, I use a silicone brush. It doesn't leave that awful residue on my baking pans.

On another note, one reason to maintain a land line is for emergency calls. Landlines are tied into the local system, so that just by dialing the number the dispatcher will see where you are calling from (exact address). You don't even have to speak to the dispatcher to get emergency personnel headed your way. (I used to instruct home health patients who were unable to speak about this). While cell phones have GPS, I don't think it's instantaneous that the dispatcher gets location information and since so many people accidentally dial their phones (butt dialing), you may not have the same immediate response if you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone. Hopefully you will never need this, but to me that's worth a few hundred dollars a year to maintain the land line.


Tuesday 1st of May 2012

If you have a self-cleaning oven, you can clean stubbornly dirty pans when you clean your oven. Doesn't work for nonstick and I think it would unseason cast iron, but it works wonders on everything else.

Cleaning ovens is quite the conundrum. The choices seem to be one, use harsh chemicals and get the oven clean but the kitchen noxious; two, use a lot of energy; or three, use regular kitchen chemicals, a lot of time and elbow grease, and maybe not have a thoroughly clean oven.

I go with option two and mitigate the downsides by starting the cycle after cooking something (which reduces heating time and therefore energy use), cleaning pans at the same time, careful timing for the cleaning (avoid it during the summer, do it in the winter when I can use the residual heat by leaving the door open after the cycle is done). Nonetheless I don't clean my oven very often.

Pam K.

Tuesday 1st of May 2012

I scrub off the baked-on spray on my Corelle baking dishes with Comet cleanser. Any cleanser like this would do. My baking dishes are as pristine and white as they were when I got them 40 years ago! Just be sure to scrub them every time you use them, and don't allow any buildup.

Condo Blues

Monday 30th of April 2012

We are a cell phone only family. It was a cheaper solution for us because calling family long distance is cheaper than a landline. We have an unlimited family plan and keep our phones much longer than we probably should. I upgraded my phone by buying it from eBay than from my cell phone company.

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