365 Ways to Live Cheap

Double Savings with Manufacturer and Store Coupons (308/365)

One of the key parts of my “one month” strategy is simply waiting until manufacturing coupons line up with store sales on the same item, which seems to happen pretty frequently if you hold onto the coupon for four to five weeks. However, many stores around here mix together the sales in their flyers with …

Use the Internet for More Coupons (307/365)

The internet can be a powerful and convenient place for finding additional coupons, particularly if you don’t have regular access to a coupon flyer from a Sunday newspaper. In fact, I actually collect the vast majority of my coupons from the Internet these days. I still use other tactics in conjunction with this, such as …

Use the “One Month” Coupon Strategy (306/365)

One of my favorite tactics in life is to apply the 80/20 rule to everything. In a nutshell, the 80/20 rule states that you get 80% of the benefit of something from 20% of the effort you put into it. The trick is that you have to have a good understanding of what you’re doing …

Try Warehouse Shopping (305/365)

Sarah and I have been members of Sam’s Club since we were in college. It’s the only warehouse club within fifty miles of us. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ll build up a list of items that we need to buy in bulk. Toilet paper. Whole grain bread. Paper towels. Snack bars for …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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, …

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 …

Host a Block Party (293/365)

When Sarah and I first moved into our home in 2007, several neighbors stopped by to greet us and drop off small housewarming gifts. One of them also brought a flyer inviting us to a block party to take place in a week or so. I attended the party (along with our only child at …

Host a Sporting Event Party (292/365)

Sporting events provide a wonderful and extremely low cost opportunity for social interaction. Whether you’re talking about viewing professional sports on television, viewing local sports live, or even participating in sports, sporting events can be the backbone of a great day with friends and family. For example, we host a potluck Super Bowl party each …

Host a Game Evening (291/365)

Aside from the potluck dinners – and sometimes in conjunction with them – we also host regular game nights at our house. We invite some people over, pull out a few board or card games, and sit around socializing and playing games for several hours. We usually serve food and beverages at our game nights, …

Host a Potluck Dinner (290/365)

Once every other weekend or so, Sarah and I will invite over some friends for dinner. We usually suggest that they bring something along with them – a beverage, a side dish, a dessert. We provide the main course, whatever that might be. The end result of that effort is that we usually wind up …