mom and daughter planting flowers

It’s easiest to be frugal when you’re flying solo. When all you have to think about is yourself and your own internal demands, it’s easier to make frugal choices. Often, the desire to be social or the desire to keep up with social demands can really eat into our finances, because the financial cost of things like going out with friends and eating out with friends add up really quickly. Because of that, many people who dabble in frugality tend …

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If you love credit card rewards and spend your free time pursuing points and miles, you already know the secret to outsized rewards: The more bills you can charge to your rewards credit card (and pay off right away), the more points and miles you’ll earn over time. Personally, I pay every possible bill I can with credit – expenses like car insurance, health insurance premiums, groceries, gas, and internet service. Over time, even small purchases can add up to …

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For the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about some smart strategies for using leftover staple foods – things like rice, beans, pasta, and so on. Here’s what you do when you cook a bit too much and don’t know what to do with the rest! It’s tricky to cook the right amount of pasta for a meal. Because you want to make sure that you have enough pasta, it’s very, very easy to cook too much pasta, often …

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When you travel as often as I do, you get used to unexpected expenses throwing your budget out of whack. You can plan ahead all you want, but when your kid needs an $8 pack of children’s Tylenol from the airport gift shop, you buy it. Either that, or you’ll cram your carry-on luggage so full you’re forced to check the bag. Or, you’ll forget to pack snacks. You may even make it all the way to Mexico without sunglasses, meaning …

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Almost every department and grocery store chain in America produces a weekly flyer describing the sales of the week in the store. The stores do this because it works – good prices get customers in the store spending money, and when they’re in there, they often buy lots of items as they’re buying other groceries, too. In order to really entice customers and get them in the door, stores will regularly promote really steep sales on specific items, sometimes even …

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When it comes to your credit scores, the higher they climb, the better. But you probably already knew that. Of course, you may be able to get by with bad credit. But bad credit makes life a lot more difficult, and certainly a lot more expensive than it needs to be. There are a number of perks to having good credit – here are five of the biggest. Perk No. 1: Lower Interest Rates and Better Terms Let’s start with …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Entrepreneurship versus raises 2. Harassment at work about finances 3. Pulling plug on internet service 4. Travel guides worthwhile? 5. Motivating yourself for better habits 6. Irrevocable or revocable trust? 7. First steps before potential divorce 8. Gifting unwanted hobby stuff 9. Thoughtful gifts for kids 10. Discarding …

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A report from the American Journal of Medicine shared some sad statistics about the state of American medical care and medical bankruptcies: A 2009 study revealed that 62.1% of U.S. bankruptcies had a medical cause that year. That figure is in stark contrast to 1981, when only 8% of bankruptcies listed medical debt as a root cause. Some good news may be on the way, however. Consumer Reports revealed that personal bankruptcies dropped 50% from 2010 to 2016, presumably due to …

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Living in New York City, I’m often disappointed in the quality of produce offered at the supermarkets. It’s not uncommon for carrots to wilt within a day, or for spinach to quickly turn into green mush even when it’s kept in the refrigerator’s “crisper” drawer. (Is anyone else certain that this has literally no effect on any produce put into it?) For the prices we pay, it’s a pretty demoralizing vegetable situation. That being the case, I often dream of …

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About two years ago, I wrote a pretty well received article on how to get started with eight great frugal hobbies. I had a lot of fun writing the article because it gave me a chance to talk about some of my own hobbies and how someone might get started in them at minimal cost. Over the ensuing two years, I’ve seen occasional follow-up questions from readers that (I think) were inspired by this article. People asked deeper questions about …

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