Starving Artist Hacks: How To Put Stuff In Your Mouth For (Relatively) Cheap

Sage Harrington - Pyragraph
Chickens feed you for cheeps! Photo by Sage Harrington.

So, first off, let’s get a couple things straight. I’m an artist. I avoid day jobs like the plague. I am a privileged white lady from a middle-class background and I am definitely not starving. The advice that I’m giving here definitely falls into the how-to-save-money-if-you-already-have-money category as described in this article/excerpt from a book on poverty in America.

Keeping all that in mind, I do have some frugal-inspired things I do (some are weirder than others) that I would love to share.

Make Your Own Toothpaste Out of Clay

This is my favorite. Is it weird? I hope so.

Once upon a time my family bought a coupla tubes of (now long-discontinued) Burt’s Bees toothpaste that was made out of clay. It was weird and amazing! I loved it!

Cure your own bacon!

For some reason it took me about ten years to get around to using a clay toothpaste again. I was tired of buying expensive “natural” toothpastes (plus, Burt’s sold out! to Clorox! and Tom’s sold out! to Colgate! ew!) and it finally occurred to me that I could do a Google search and have my every hippie toothpaste question answered. I found this recipe, which I love.

So, yeah, I’m one of those people who went into a vitamin store and bought a container full of dirt. I’m not proud, necessarily, but I love it. It works so well. And, fuck fluoride.

Make Your Own Food

You don’t need me to tell you that eating out is ‘spensive. Eat in the comfort of your own, warm, cozy, smelling of freshly baked granola home. It takes some planning to soak beans or boil up rice or some delicious lentil concoction (and spoon some kind of tasty yogurt sauce on top of that) but, honestly, I just really enjoy doing it.

‘Tis the season now, as far as I’m concerned, to be making big pots of butternut squash soup every week and dipping into them delightfully hot, drippy grilled cheese sandwiches, or at least some kind of delicious rustic-y toasted bread, which I may or may not have made myself.

Pro tip: Visit the Smitten Kitchen to find all of your new favorite recipes. I think 95% of the recipes I’ve made within the last few years have come from this site or the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Just so, so much love.

Now for a blast of lovely recipe links! Culture your own yogurt! Cure your own bacon! Make some fucking delicious and simple sourdough waffles! Be like the amazing Tonya Kay: Brew up some delicious kombucha or ferment some kimchi.

Sage Harrington - Pyragraph

Sage Harrington - Pyragraph

Lay Some Eggs, Grow Some Kale

The jury’s still out on whether it’s less expensive to keep chickens (the giant 25lb sacks of organic chicken feed that I buy aren’t cheep) than to pick up organic, free range, cage-free eggs from the store or your local farmer’s market, but how could you ever factor the cuteness level tiny feathered dinosaurs into such an equation? Plus, they’re great extras in music videos.

This is a very crunchy-white-hipster-homestyle-urban-farm post, now isn’t it? I guess I should own up to what I am. Since it’s coming on wintertime and my summer attempts at gardening this season failed failed failed (I do live in the desert, which requires copious amounts of attention/watering), I am trying again with a wintergarden of garlic and frost-hardy kale. Grow your kale in the ground, or in pots! Or in raised beds! Or in bales of straw! The possibilities are endless!

Do it for you, and, you know, the earth!

Photos by Sage Harrington.

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