Frugality

How to Avoid Getting Cut by the Cutting Edge

When I graduated from college in 2002, smartphones were just beginning to become popular. There were several different types floating around out there, most with LCD screens that enabled you to check your email and send text messages, both of which were beyond the capacity of the “dumb” phones at the time. I immediately got …

How to Maximize the Value of Abundant Fresh Foods: Lessons from a Gardener and CSA Member

One of the pleasures of the summer season is the abundance of fresh foods available. From early summer through the middle of fall, gardens and fields are producing in such impressive abundance that we can scarcely take it all in. In fact, in all honestly, it’s too much right now. Between our CSA share (which …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

The Deceptively Tiny Wardrobe: A Clever Method for Saving Money and Time With Clothing While Still Having Plenty to Wear

Over the last few years, I’ve bought almost no new clothes. The only exception I can think of at all is some replacements for my socks and underwear. As clothes have worn out, I’ve simply tossed them in the trash or the rag bag. My goal, in the end, is to have a “deceptively tiny …

Nine Fantastic and Inexpensive Summer Recipes Using Fresh Seasonal Foods

For me, the best part of summer is the seemingly endless variety of fresh produce. It’s everywhere, from gardens to CSA baskets, from farmers markets to family gardens, from roadside stands to your local grocery store. The variety of produce available this time of the year is out of this world – and the best …

Categories: Frugality, Meals, Shopping

Six Simple Changes to Your Grocery Routine That Can Save You a Lot of Money

As I’ve alluded to a few times recently, a Fareway just opened in the small town in which my family lives (for those unfamiliar, Fareway is a discount grocer). The new store is close enough that I can easily walk or bicycle there, as the round trip is just a little over a mile. Prior …

Passions, Obsessions, Time, and Money

Recently, I listened to episode #161 of the Pen Addict podcast, which featured a long discussion on the topic of buying with intention. For those unfamiliar with the Pen Addict, it’s a podcast about pens and notebooks, a topic of which I have some degree of interest. The hosts and the guest on that episode …

Frugality and Self-Confidence

One thing I often do when I’m looking for inspiration or new angles for The Simple Dollar is simply go back and read my journals and other writing from before my financial turnaround. Honestly, that stuff is often fairly painful to read. I can just see the huge financial mistakes I’m making, whether I discuss …

Turning Three Big Financial Projects from Plan into Action

A few days ago, I wrote an article on becoming a “doer” instead of a “planner.” Many of us are very good at making plans for changing our life, but we’re not as good at actually executing those changes. A big part of the strategy I offer in that article is clearly defining things to …

10 Things You Should Never Buy Used

Whether you’re trying to save money or be less wasteful in general, shopping at secondhand stores, garage sales, and flea markets is a good strategy. Not only do you get to save an item from the landfill, but you can usually pay a fraction of the retail cost. Of course, some items work better than …

Eight Frugal Ways to Unwind

In the crazy, fast-paced world we live in, it’s important to find ways to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, some of the most enjoyable ways to reach peak relaxation aren’t all that cheap. For example, when I think of pure relaxation, I envision myself enjoying a hot stone massage somewhere on the beach. Meanwhile, others relax …

Categories: Frugality, Health

A Guide to Extreme Food Budgeting

Jeremy writes in: In my current job, I bring in about $780 per biweekly paycheck. I get paid 26 times a year. I make a monthly budget based on two paychecks and use the remaining two per year for an emergency fund and for seasonal expenses like buying Christmas gifts. This means I have $1,560 …

Beyond eBay: Six Better Ways to Buy, Sell, and Trade Stuff Online

Are you tired of the mountains of clutter around your home? Are you overwhelmed by your own “stuff?” Do you have so many belongings that you have to rent a storage unit to house them all? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by the National Association …

Five Ways to Bounce Back from a Busted Budget

It happens to the best of us. Everything is going great, then all of a sudden, something knocks your budget completely off track. It can be anything, really – a sudden job loss that drastically reduces your income, a surprise home repair, or a medical issue. And depending on the severity of your budget crisis, …

Categories: Frugality

The Best Used Cars for Simply Getting Around

It’s expensive to buy and own a car — the American Automobile Association (AAA) pegs the cost of owning a vehicle at a whopping $8,698 a year. But most of us need one to get around; in much of America, it’s just a fact of life. Still, that doesn’t mean we need an expensive car. While AAA takes into account …

The Social Cost of Frugality

Scott writes: I’m curious to see what the Simple Dollar’s opinion is on the social cost of purchasing cheap items. I tend to be rather frugal in my purchase of everyday goods, including clothing, electronics, food, etc. This usually means I buy the cheapest of whatever item is available. That’s normally a good thing, right? Except …

Categories: Frugality

Some Thoughts on “Cutting Back” on Frugality

It’s a pretty typical story. Person reaches a financial breaking point. Person begins to use frugality to cut back strongly on their expenses. Person pays down their debts and begins saving for the future. Person begins to feel a whole lot better about their financial state. At that point, many people reach a crossroads. They …

Categories: Frugality

Five Things I Was Willing to Give Up to Save Money

Several years ago, my husband and I realized that we weren’t realizing our financial potential. We weren’t hugely in debt or spending frivolously… but we were getting ready to have a family. And although it wasn’t any sort of emergency, something about the prospect of having kids made us realize how important it was for us …

Categories: Frugality, Saving Money

12 Items That Pay for Themselves Tenfold or More

When you’re trying to live a frugal lifestyle and save money, it can seem counterintuitive to buy anything new. Yet, that’s exactly what many money-conscious people do. The difference is, those who have mastered the art of frugality don’t just buy things; they invest in them. And they don’t just invest in “stuff;” they invest …

The ‘What Should I Major In?’ Question

Every once in a while, I’ll get an email from a high-school-aged reader – or the parent of a high-school-aged student – who is looking for advice on what to study in college and, to some extent, how to pay for it. When I went to college, I followed the simple and straightforward advice of my …

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