Frugality

Twelve Strategies for Getting Food on the Table During a Money Crisis

One common question I hear from readers – and see on various personal finance message boards – goes something like this: Over the past few weeks, some sort of financial calamity has occurred in my life. As a result, I only have $10 or $20 that needs to last me until the end of the …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Escaping the Trap of Eating Out Every Night

If you live in a city and have a busy schedule, it is really easy to fall into a cycle of eating out almost every night. This used to be me. I worked in a city, but I actually lived in a small town that was a good dozen miles away. In the evenings, many …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

The Ultimate Guide to Cutting the Cable Cord

Cable television is expensive, not just in terms of money but also in terms of time. The service costs money, as does the electricity that powers your cable box and television, plus there’s the time spent watching television. It’s an expense that can drain both your finances and your opportunities. For us, cable television is …

How to Find the Best Thrift Stores in Your Area

I have had a lot of success buying things at thrift stores, secondhand stores, and consignment shops. Here are just a few examples of things I’ve found. Several years ago at a secondhand clothes store in the Ames, Iowa area, I found a new – meaning it still had the tags on it – replica …

Categories: Frugality

Frugality Without Sacrifice

Not too long ago, I received a really good email from a reader, “Jan,” who asked some pointed questions about frugality. Here’s that email, in part: Your story of how you and your wife dug out of debt and started building toward a financially independent lifestyle is a great one. You guys deserve applause for …

Categories: Frugality

13 Times Cutting Corners Will End Up Costing You

Over the years, I’ve learned that being frugal does pay off. But sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to be cheap. (I’ve spent thousands of dollars to figure this out. Please don’t do the same.) There was a time when I attempted to save every extra dollar that made its way into my bank account. Did …

25 Gift Ideas Under $10 I’d Be Happy to Receive

Whenever I see a typical gift idea list, I have two immediate frustrations. One, the gifts on it are often expensive. If there’s someone out there I’m going to be spending $100 or more on for a gift, it’s very likely that I know that person well enough that I don’t have to be looking …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

How to Maximize Your Meal Planning Dollars with Bulk Buying

Sammi writes in: I really loved your article about meal planning for busy families. My husband and I have adopted this strategy and have been using it for about two months and our food costs have gone down a lot! The only challenge we have is how to incorporate bulk buying into it. The closest …

Categories: Frugality, Meals, Shopping

An Introduction to Geocaching, My Family’s Favorite Frugal Activity

On a hot August afternoon, the five of us found ourselves in the shade of an old wooden bridge. There was a wonderful cool breeze blowing through the bridge’s underpinnings, so we sat down for a bit and took a few gulps out of our respective water bottles. When we checked our GPS, we found …

Categories: Family, Frugality

Guide to Holiday Tipping and Budgeting

The holiday season is almost upon us, and you know what that means – it’s time to start planning parties and buying gifts for all the people you love. Unfortunately, it’s also time to start plotting out the practical aspects of the holidays, including how much money you should be spending. Don’t allocate all of your gift-giving funds to …

10 Holiday Gifts to Combat Consumerism Fatigue

We’re all guilty of it: You put off buying a present for a loved one, and suddenly it’s too late — so you just throw money at the problem and buy something for buying something’s sake. In the end, it’s a waste of money, and your friend or family member has another piece of junk they …

12 Strategies for Holiday Leftovers

Thanksgiving (and Christmas, for that matter) are holidays where my family tends to gather with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews and share food, drink, and good cheer. These gatherings often tend to be large ones and thus large meals are often prepared with lots of different side dishes. The end result? There are …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

My Ten Favorite “Healthy” and Inexpensive Foods (and a Great Recipe for Each One)

With five people living under our roof, our food budget quickly stacks up to become a major part of our family’s expenses for the month, which naturally means that we’re very interested in methods that can reduce our food spending while also putting a variety of meals on the table. At the same time, we …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Warren Buffett’s Two Lists and Your Money

A few weeks ago, there was a pretty great story going around various business and finance websites about Warren Buffett. According to the story: One day Buffett went up to his pilot named Steve and jokingly said to him that “the fact that you’re still working for me tells me I’m not doing my job.” …

18 Ways to Slash Your Utility Consumption in Half

When you tear open your utility bill each month, are you annoyed with the outstanding balance listed on the statement? If so, you aren’t alone. I was having a chat with my hairstylist the other day and she expressed how disgruntled she was about having to fork over $300 or more per month on her utility …

Cost-Cutting Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner

You may have recently mastered the art of budget-conscious grocery shopping, but preparing for Thanksgiving dinner is a whole other ballgame. Carving off some savings will take a lot more time and effort, since each dish typically requires its own set of ingredients, some which are a bit pricey. Before you check your bank account …

The Parable of the Whopper: The Big Impact of a Little Treat

When I was a college student, I lived for about a year with a few other people in a shared apartment. None of us had much money at all, so we basically packed as many people in there as we could get away with to make the rent cheap. For me, that meant that the …

20 Money-Saving Tactics for Winter

A few days ago, we received our first measurable snowfall of the year, bringing us a two-inch blanket of snow that covered the world in white. It was a stark reminder that, although the calendar doesn’t quite say so (yet), winter has arrived. As anyone who has ever had to pay an energy bill north …

10 Cheap Household Staples That Double as Cleaning Supplies

The last time I went shopping for cleaning supplies, there were so many items to choose from I quickly got overwhelmed, grabbed a few things off my list, and made a dash for the exit. Of course, I was missing a few items when it was time to start cleaning, but I made it work. Why …