Frugality

Introducing Thrifty Thursdays

One of my favorite things about The Simple Dollar is all of the tips, tricks, hacks, and analysis Trent has written over the years on how to save a buck. From how to make your own beer or pizza dough to how to make your own soap or laundry detergent, each of these nuggets of wisdom offers us …

Categories: Frugality

Why Your Budget Needs a Buffer

When my husband and I discovered zero-sum budgeting several years ago, we knew we were onto something. Because of the way zero-sum budgeting works, it required us to account for every dollar we made on paper – to give each dollar a job. For us, that meant scrutinizing every cent of our spending and figuring …

The Big Impact of Your Little Financial Choices

When a person starts looking at their personal finances and seeking to make changes to improve things, most personal finance books and websites encourage people to look at making big changes right off the bat. Sell off all the stuff in your closet to earn a big pile of money in a weekend. Sell your …

Our Family’s Seven Favorite Make-Ahead Meals

One of our favorite frugal routines around here is the “make ahead meal.” It often fills our Saturday afternoons. A make ahead meal is a simple concept, really – you just prepare most of a meal in advance, freeze it just prior to the point where you would put it in the oven, and then …

Categories: Frugality

Can You Save Money by Becoming Vegetarian?

Beef prices hit record highs last summer and prices for beef, pork, and eggs are expected to climb throughout 2015. Meanwhile, a growing body of research indicates that eating meat and animal products can contribute to a host of health issues, including diabetes and cancer. A recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism revealed that middle-aged people who …

What Do New Parents Really Need?

If you ask baby boomers how parenting has changed over the years, many can name a host of once-safe practices that have since been outlawed. People from my mother’s generation talk about how, as babies, they rode in the front seat of their family car without a car seat. And my mother often jokes about shrouding us in …

Six Strategies for Maximizing the Value of a Warehouse Club

Over the holidays, I had a great conversation with several relatives about the compared merits of Sam’s Club and Costco (our conclusion was that you should just use whichever is most convenient or closest for you), which eventually turned into a discussion of how to get the most value out of a warehouse club membership. …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

What Do Frugal People Genuinely Do For Fun?

Over the past six months, this is probably the question I have heard the most often from readers. “What do you do for fun?” “Frugality seems so boring because it takes away all the fun.” “What can I do that’s fun and cheap?” Behind all of these questions lies a simple problem: people perceive “fun” …

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 …

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