• The Pasta Sauce Conundrum

    Two or three times a month, my family enjoys an evening meal that features pasta of some kind. We might enjoy spaghetti or lasagna or something else, depending on the mood. However, when I go to the store to buy pasta sauce, I absolutely cringe at the prices. The “cheap” sauces are loaded with high …

  • Drawing the Line

    I define “frugality” as meaning “cutting back on the things that aren’t as important to you so that you don’t have to compromise on the things that are important to you.” For example, I don’t particularly value anything about laundry soap except for whether or not it gets my clothes clean, so homemade laundry soap …

  • Heating, Cooling, and Saving

    I really enjoyed this talk from Paul Wheaton on the reality of energy savings at home: Essentially, Wheaton breaks down the various ways to heat and cool your home into three groups. He mostly focuses on heat, but these ideas apply almost the same as cooling. The first group includes things that you touch for …

  • Price Per Unit Isn’t Always Useful

    The idea of “price per unit” is a pretty useful one to have when you’re shopping for goods. It’s a simple idea that many of us know about, but it never hurts to break it down again for new readers. When you’re at the grocery store and you’re considering items, you’ll compare a lot of …

  • Experiments with Homemade Dishwashing Detergent: What Works Best?

    A few weeks ago, I was greatly inspired by this HouseLogic article where several different homemade dishwasher soap recipes are compared. I have struggled in the past with finding a homemade dishwashing detergent recipe that worked well, so I had high hopes for these recipes. Note: I took several pictures for this post, but most …

  • “Buying It for Life” in the Kitchen

    Sarah and I are subscribers to the “buy it for life” philosophy. In short, it means that we’re willing to pay more for a product that does its job well but, just as importantly, will last a very long time, preferably for the rest of our lives. Here are six principles of “buying it for …

  • “Savings Per Hour” and the Power of Frugal Intuition

    Whenever I go beyond intuition and try to evaluate the exact savings found in a particular frugality method, the first thing I do is figure out exactly how much that method saves me regardless of how long it takes. Is this method providing a big savings or a little savings? For me, the tactics that …

  • 4 Ways to Minimize Your Home Energy Bill This Spring

    This post first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. Winter is over! Spring is here! Spring offers many opportunities to save money. Spring makes it much easier to go outside and get some exercise. You can start a vegetable garden. Plus, when you’re outside, you can turn off all of the lights and …

  • Nine Free Resources for Inexpensive Home Exercise

    My recent article, Five Inexpensive Gym Alternatives for Exercise, resulted in a small flood of feedback from readers offering up their tips for home exercise. I reviewed the many links and ideas that readers provided and found nine really great free resources if you’re trying to get in shape (or stay in shape) at home. …

  • Avoiding Doing It Yourself

    I like doing things myself, whenever I can do it. Yesterday, when I posted a list of eight DIY tasks for spring, I relish the opportunity to do things like that. Sometimes, I even go beyond what I think I should be doing … in fact, that’s why our basement toilet has the water supply …

  • 15 Items That Are Always Worth Buying in Bulk

    This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. Buying items in bulk can be a great way to save a little money. If you’re able to reduce the cost per unit of a purchase, then you’re opening the door to reducing your household expenses over the long haul. The trick? Sometimes bulk …

  • Eight Simple Money Saving Do-It-Yourself Tasks to Do This Spring

    Spring is here! (At least, according to the calendar. We received about an inch of snow overnight, which I hope will be the last snow until the late fall.) For the five of us in central Iowa, spring means that it’s time to get outdoors again after a long winter. We usually gorge on the …

  • Five Inexpensive Gym Alternatives for Exercise

    In my area, the cheapest gym I can find for exercise is one that charges about $15 per month and charges additional fees for every class you might take. The $15 per month just gets you in the door and gives you access to the facilities. Other gyms that offer training programs and such accelerate …

  • A Day of Consumption

    One of my favorite achievements during my early financial recovery was discovering the power of “money free weekends” and, later, “money free weeks.” Money free weekends are a really powerful way to keep your spending in check – and it’s also a great way to discover free things that you enjoy doing. Here are 100 …

  • The Challenge of Frugality and Good Nutrition

    The other day, I went through a local grocery store flyer and marked items as either being “healthy” or “unhealthy.” I was curious as to whether items on sale were items that provided good long-term nutrition for people or not. Of course, the first problem is defining what “healthy” and “unhealthy” means. Part of the …

  • Measuring Frugality

    Most of the time, when I’m evaluating the usefulness of a frugal tactic, I convert that tactic into dollars per hour. I’ll figure out how much I save, how long it takes me to complete that tactic, and then use a bit of basic math to convert it to that standard unit. For example, let’s …

  • Four Frugal Technology Recommendations

    Readers often contact me asking for recommendations for technology items at a low cost. They have a use in mind and they just want the item that will fulfill that use at the lowest price without any serious negative drawbacks. Four of these requests tend to repeat themselves quite often, so I thought I’d just …

  • The Last Bit in the Container

    It happens over and over again in life. You’re using a tube of toothpaste and you’ve used enough so that it’s becoming difficult to squeeze out the remainder. You’re eating a bag of chips and all that’s left are a bunch of crumbs at the bottom. You turn over your shampoo bottle to get a …

  • The Greater Implications of Frugality

    Maria writes in: Do you ever write about the political and social implications of frugality? When you choose not to spend and instead invest your money, you’re either supporting the banking industry or brokerages. Every dollar you have makes some sort of statement, even when you choose to save it. Maria makes a good point. …