Frugality

Fifteen Items I Don’t Skimp On

Frugality is a major part of our financial independence strategy. Since we live on only one income and save the other one, we have to be quite careful with our spending. As I’ve mentioned many times, my perspective on frugality is to spend as little as possible on things that aren’t as important to us …

Categories: Frugality

Nine Strategies for Stretching Out a Tiny Food Budget

We’ve all faced it at some point in our life. Your next paycheck isn’t due to arrive for a week or so. You don’t have much in your checking account and there’s not too much in the cupboards, either. You need to put food on the table for the next week but you have only …

Triggering the Spark of Financial Independence and Frugality

Kayla writes in: I’ve never really understood how you could suddenly make the switch from way overspending to actually living on just one of your two incomes and saving half of your income. How does that even happen? As I thought about Kayla’s question, I started writing a list of things that I felt played …

Eight Strategies for Buying Clothes Without Destroying Your Budget

At our house, I’m the lucky one. I work from home so it doesn’t really matter too much what I wear most days, so I dress for comfort. Almost every day, you’ll find me in blue jeans and a t-shirt. I have some nicer clothes for social occasions and presentations, but those mostly just stay …

Using Paprika for Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

Most of the time, I prefer to talk about free computer programs and smartphone apps that are useful for me financially, but today I’m going to make an exception and talk about a paid program – Paprika. (It costs $4.99 for smartphones and tablets and has a $19.99 desktop version for Mac (with a Windows …

Categories: Frugality, Meals, Technology

Seven Clever Food Strategies for Stretching a Small Budget

There are a lot of strategies out there for stretching a food budget, from couponing to meal planning. I’ve laid out our six-step plan for organizing cheap meals many times on The Simple Dollar, and it’s a routine we stick to almost every week. Still, that’s not the end of the road when it comes …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

20 Great Games to Play with Stuff You Already Have

Playing games at the kitchen table is a regular part of life at our house. I play games after school three or four days a week with my children, as well as a family game night most weeks. Sarah and I play games together one or two nights a week, and I have a regular …

Frugality and Hoarding

Jerome sent me a great question for the reader mailbag, but I found that my answer was getting too long so I chose to spin my response off into its own post. Jerome asked this: One of the big ideas of frugality is to not waste anything. That just seems to lead to hoarding, though. …

Categories: Frugality

30 Great Gifts for $5 (or Less!)

Gift-giving can be an expensive proposition. Most of the ideas that tend to pop into people’s minds when it comes to exchanging gifts are expensive ones – or, at least ones that add up to a lot if you have to buy many of them. That doesn’t have to be the case. There are a …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

Spend Less? Earn More? Which Is the Best Path?

Pretty much everyone who writes anything about personal finance will agree that the best way to get ahead financially is to increase the difference between what you earn and what you spend. There are, of course, two major ways to make that happen. You can either earn more or you can spend less. No matter …

Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Frugal Living

The simple maxim of spending less than you earn stands at the heart of personal finance success. If you can consistently do that one thing, you’re going to succeed when it comes to personal finance. I repeat that idea all the time because it’s so true – it’s the core of everything. People get into …

Categories: Frugality

The Value of Handwritten Notes

Whenever I happen to stop in a Hallmark store, I’m just astounded as to the wide variety of greeting cards on display in there. There are cards for birthdays, wedding anniversaries, bridal showers, engagements, weddings, new babies, job promotions, new jobs, good-byes, graduations, passing a big test, recovering from illness or surgery, sympathy, apology, christenings, …

Categories: Frugality

50 Free Activities For Kids

One of the most popular articles I’ve ever written for The Simple Dollar is 100 Things to Do During a Money-Free Weekend. In it, I touch upon the idea of a “money-free weekend” – one in which you consciously avoid the active spending of money – and then drop a long list of activities you …

Categories: Family, Frugality

Are Ethanol Fuels a Bargain?

Ethanol Added and Premium Fuels Are a Questionable Bargain Over the last year, I’ve been keeping careful track of the fuel efficiency of my 2004 Honda Pilot. You know the vehicle – it’s the one I bought off of Craigslist a few years back. My driving in the vehicle is an almost equal mix of …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

The Razor Experiment: Smart Tactics for Razor Blades

I’ve been clean shaven for almost my entire adult life (aside from a disastrous beard experiment in college). Over those years, I’ve tried a number of different solutions for keeping a clean shave and, over the last several years, I’ve focused on ways to keep my face cleared without breaking the bank. These experiments have …

Categories: Frugality

My Timeless Strategy for Buying Electronics

I write for a living, mostly for websites. It’s not surprising that I have a great deal of use for a number of electronic items. I have a smartphone, a reasonably modern computer, a laptop, and an iPad Mini. Almost since the day I graduated from college, using computers and other electronic devices has been …

Ten Steps to Cut Food Waste Expense

One of the biggest frustrations I have as a money-conscious person is when I waste something that could have been used if I had just planned better. It’s painful whether I’m tossing out something that’s rusty, something that’s water damaged, or something that’s spoiled. This “tossing out ‘could have been used’ stuff” phenomenon happens most …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

The Free and the Priceless

What is the financial value of a hug from one of your children? You might scoff at this question or think that it’s somehow foolish, but I’m serious. What is a hug from one of your children worth? Five dollars? Ten dollars? Thousands? Nothing? It probably has a lot to do with your own internal …

The Addiction of Immediate Gratification

I really enjoy a big gulp of orange juice. That mix of tartness and sweetness across my tongue is just sublime. I relish the feeling I get from pulling the plastic off of a new board game and popping out all of the pieces. The smell, the sound, and the tactile feeling all bring me …