Month: May 2014

Get Into Free Customer Programs (304/365)

There are a lot of businesses that offer free customer loyalty programs of various kinds. Airlines, hotels, specialty goods stores, drugstores, many grocery stores, gas stations, and many other businesses have found that customer reward programs that save their loyal customers a bit of money can end up making a great deal of money for …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Disaster Relief Edition

A large section of the country is reeling from the hurricane. Aside from extending sympathy from the millions of victims, I only have one small thing to say. Send aid, but be smart about it. They don’t need your “stuff.” Don’t try to send blankets or toiletries or first aid supplies. The logistics of getting …

Categories: Books and Reading

Discover Craigslist and Freecycle (303/365)

We currently own a 2004 Honda Pilot, which we use for most of our family’s driving needs. We bought it off of Craigslist. We ended up paying substantially less than we would have at a dealership. I have a large handful of tools that were given to me by someone on Freecycle. They cost me …

Categories: Frugality

Don’t Shop for Entertainment’s Sake (302/365)

Shopping is an extremely expensive form of entertainment. If you go out shopping simply because you can’t think of something else to do, you’re willingly putting yourself in an environment that’s designed to extract money from your pocket. They use clever displays, sights, sounds, smells, demonstrations, and countless other techniques to get you to buy …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Congratulations, Giants

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Car dilemma 2. Very young children and money 3. Praying for money? 4. Retirement contribution calculations 5. Loans versus Roth IRA? 6. Library book sales 7. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Host an All-Day “Cook Ahead” Party (301/365)

About three months ago, I included an entry in this series describing the advantages of cooking and freezing complete meals in advance. Typically, we’d make several copies of the exact same meal, cook one for supper that night, and put the rest in the freezer. There are several advantages to doing this. We can buy …

Categories: Frugality

Keeping Hobby and Entertainment Spending in Check

A few years ago, I was a big collector of DVDs. I amassed a collection of almost 1,000 DVDs of all kinds, and I was pretty proud of the collection. We had display cases in our living room showing all of them off. Now, if you do a bit of “back of the envelope” math …

Buy in Bulk with Friends (300/365)

I love shopping at the big warehouse stores. If you’re at least a bit observant with the prices, you can find some very solid discounts there. The only problem is that in order to get those discounts, you have to walk out the door with a pack of 36 rolls of paper towels or several …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #97

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Lao Tzu on past, present, and future The only worthwhile way to think of the past and the future is to think of them in terms of how they …

Share Money-Saving Tips with Your Friends (299/365)

This morning, I posted an article in which I described nine frugality tips I shared with my friends over the last several months. They were mostly pulled from Facebook threads and emails, and they were mostly all in response to things said by my friends. Fairly regularly, though, I’ll just offer up an interesting, general …

Categories: Frugality

Nine Frugal Ideas for Nine Friends

I love sending frugality tips to my friends when I see an opportunity for it. I thought it might be fun to share some of those recent ideas I’ve sent out to people. (Names are changed, along with a few bits of personal info from my responses.) To Amy, the chronically disorganized friend: I find …

Categories: Frugality

Share Purchases of Equipment with Neighbors and Friends (298/365)

There are a lot of pieces of equipment that are useful to have around, but that you don’t use very often. Gardening equipment is a great example of this. Most of the gardening tools we have simply aren’t used all that often. They sit in the garage for the vast majority of the year, coming …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: World Series

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Visa renewal worries 2. Cheap exercise in winter 3. Cheap package mailing 4. Bankruptcy and libraries 5. Selling plasma? 6. Thief in home 7. Hand sanitizing …

Categories: Books and Reading

Organize “Work Parties” Where People Gather to Help with a Task (297/365)

One of the best memories I have of my college years was on the moving days, when people would move in and out of the dormitories. I always liked to be one of the first students to arrive and one of the last ones to leave, because I found it incredibly fun to help people …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Political Sign Edition

I’ve become aware in the last week or two of multiple incidents of people having political signs in their yard tampered with. Someone just goes up in their yard, pulls the sign down, and usually tries to damage it in what looks like a hasty fashion. All of the signs that have been tampered with …

Categories: Books and Reading

Offer to Trade Skills with Your Friends (296/365)

I have friends who are either professionally trained or have significant experience in many, many different fields. Carpentry. Electrical wiring. Plumbing. Home building. Computer repair. Home decor. The list goes on and on. There are a lot of things I’m good at, too. I can handle (or at least help with) many home repair tasks. …

Categories: Frugality

When Making a Major Purchase, Tap Your Social Network (295/365)

Whenever Sarah and I think about a purchase of any kind above roughly $100, the first thing we do is turn to our social network. I’ll put out a message on Facebook to my personal friends asking them if they know anything about, say, point-and-shoot digital cameras. The next time I see some friends face-to-face, …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Debate Night

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Washing plastic bags 2. Blowing off steam inexpensively 3. Toothpaste use? 4. Starting over? 5. Why use Twitter? 6. Early Christmas planning 7. Rollover IRA question …

Categories: Books and Reading

Build Friendships with Parents of Your Children’s Friends (294/365)

When we first moved into our new house, we had very few friends that lived near us. We had moved away from many of our old friends and, since we had one young child and another one just about to arrive, the prospect of building new friendships at that moment seemed pretty daunting alongside all …

Categories: Frugality