365 Ways to Live Cheap

Have Fun (365/365)

After an entire year’s worth of frugality tactics, it all comes down to this. Have fun. Thanks to Egan Snow for the image. Whenever you’re trying to change something in your life, you’re going to make it very, very hard to sustain if you hate what it takes to make that change a reality. If …

Share Your Experiences and Frugal Tips (364/365)

It’s easy to find a long list of frugal tactics that work for a general audience. You read through them, discard the majority of them that don’t apply to your life, and find the handful that are actually useful to you. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a personal frugal assistant who did this …

Keep Trying New Frugal Tactics (363/365)

The number of effective ways to trim your spending is nearly unlimited. You can check out encyclopedic tomes of frugality tips from the library or simply visit one of a thousand frugality blogs out there on the internet and collect more tips than you can possibly deal with. When you first dive into the whole …

Remember That Time Is Money (362/365)

What is an hour of your time and energy worth? In simplest terms, an hour of your time is worth whatever you’re paid for an hour’s worth of work at your job. After all, you’re repeatedly willing to spend your time and energy at that rate, so it must be an exchange rate you’re happy …

Think About Why You Want Something (361/365)

Each year, my extended family usually requests that I make up a wish list at Amazon.com to make it easier for them for gift-giving purchases. I don’t mind doing this at all, because it helps them out. The problem with this is that I struggle for things to put on my wishlist. I usually have …

Find Frugal Friends (360/365)

When you spend time with your friends, what do you do? Do you go to each other’s houses for potluck dinners, or do you go out on the town for dinner? When you watch movies together, do you toss a DVD someone already owns into the DVD player at a friend’s house, or do you …

Handle a Windfall Intelligently, Too (359/365)

Yesterday, we talked about the challenges of getting a raise. It’s always a good thing to increase your income, but if you make poor financial decisions with that extra income, it will go to waste and you’ll find yourself right back in the same difficult financial boat you were in before the raise. The same …

Handle a Raise Intelligently (358/365)

A raise is something well worth being proud about. You’ve worked hard and your employer is recognizing that in the clearest way they can – with their cash. The challenge is that when you get a raise, there’s a strong temptation to raise your spending right alongside it. First, there’s the temptation to celebrate and …

Automatically Sock Away That Savings (357/365)

Yesterday, we talked about the value of properly assessing one’s frugal savings. The question then becomes what we should do with it. When I first started my financial turnaround, there were a few months where I was amazed at the amount of money left in my checking account at the end of the month. Not …

Figure Out Exactly What You Saved (356/365)

Over the final ten days of this year, we’re going to finish off this series by looking at ten tactics that demonstrate how you can transform all of the little savings you’re getting from frugality into life-affirming changes. The first step, though, is figuring out how much all of these frugal changes is actually saving …

Vacation with Others (355/365)

My final tip on inexpensive travel is not just useful from a financial perspective. It also makes for a much more enjoyable travel experience, too. Simply put, travel with others. Make your trip into a group excursion and you’ll save money (and increase your enjoyment) in many different ways. Thanks to Ralph Daily for the …

Don’t Overload a Vacation with Scheduled Activities (354/365)

I’ve gone on one vacation in my life where we had pre-bought tickets for activities on most of the days. I thought I was doing a great job in terms of bargain hunting. Oh, how wrong I was. For one, we didn’t even end up doing some of the activities. We’d go out to eat …

Align Vacations with Visiting Family and Friends (353/365)

In 2009, my family travelled to the Dallas, Texas area. In that area, I have two great aunts and a number of first and second cousins. We spent a lot of time with them, enjoying meals and reconnecting. In 2011, my family travelled to the Seattle, Washington area, much like we did in 2004. We …

Use the Peak-End Rule (352/365)

The “peak-end” rule is a tactic that can not only maximize the value you get out of your vacations, but it can maximize what you get out of almost anything in life. It pops up again and again in everyday life, from the plotting of movies and television shows to how meals are served at …

Use a Digital Camera Effectively (351/365)

Whenever I’m about to travel, my digital camera is the first thing I pack. It’s an incredibly cost-efficient way to create a record of my travels. There are many obvious ways to utilize a digital camera while traveling. One, you don’t need to make prints (unless you want to). I almost never make prints unless …

Avoid Typical Souvenirs (350/365)

For me, the best souvenirs are the memories. I don’t really need physical things to recall my vacations, as I’ll just look at the digital pictures and my mind fills in the blanks. Of course, many people like to bring home physical items to remember their vacations by. Sarah takes this route with her souvenirs. …

Plan the Backbone of Your Vacation Around Inexpensive Stuff (349/365)

It’s common sense. If you plan a vacation in which the primary activities are expensive things, then the vacation is going to be expensive. If you plan a vacation in which the primary activities are inexpensive, then the vacation is going to be inexpensive. Thus, most of the time, it makes a lot more sense …

Know the Rules When You Use Your ATM Card When Abroad (348/365)

As we discussed yesterday, practicing a little bit of care with your money when traveling abroad can save you a pretty penny. Currency exchange can really cost a person if they’re not prepared. One of the tactics I suggested in that article is to use an ATM card if you need currency when you actually …

Do Necessary Currency Conversions Before You Leave (347/365)

One of the most painful parts of my international travels has been the currency conversion process. Many banks, particularly those with international branches, will happily convert currency for you, but at a price. It’s understandable why they charge a fee. They’re providing a service, and then they have to deal with converting the funds themselves. …