• Frugality and Buying American

    Mark writes in: “One of my biggest struggles with becoming frugal is that most of the inexpensive items aren’t made in the United States. I used to make an effort to buy as many products as I could from local places and tried to make sure they were made in the U.S. but doing that …

  • The Future of Cheap Television

    A few days ago, at the Consumer Electronics Show, an announcement was made that I think points toward a future, a few years down the road, of very inexpensive television service for anyone, regardless of their interests. World Wrestling Entertainment – yes, the professional wrestling company – announced an online streaming service a la Netflix …

  • The Slow Cooker Lunch Cycle

    It’s pretty easy to understand the desire to eat out in the middle of a workday. It can be really inconvenient to prepare a meal before you go to work, after all, and many of the meals you can throw together in a minute in the morning are pretty bland. The problem is that eating …

  • The Gift Card Shuffle

    Annika sent in this great idea that I wanted to discuss in a post of its own: “I agree that gift cards aren’t a good idea for gifts, but I do find them pretty useful. We have a membership at Sam’s Club and they sell gift cards at a discount. If I know I’m going …

  • Four Frugal Projects for the First Weekend of the Year – and How Much You’ll Save This Year If You Do Them

    The first weekend of the year is coming up. If you live anywhere in the northern half of the United States – or north of there – you’re probably going to be focusing on indoor activities for the weekend. Thankfully, there are a lot of frugal projects you can take on. Here are four of …

  • Does Micro-Frugality Matter?

    One of the strongest sources of negative feedback I receive about The Simple Dollar is my “obsession” with what I’d call micro-frugality. I’ll be the first person to admit that my attention is often grabbed by small details. I like to know exactly how much I’m spending in water usage per minute in the shower. …

  • Frugality, Hot Water, and Health

    A few weeks ago, Sarah and I traveled to spend Thanksgiving at the home of some of our extended family members. The first morning we were there, I grabbed some clothes and headed for the bathroom to take a shower. Just like I do at home, I turned the hot water to full and turned …

  • When to Skimp and When to Spend More for Quality

    Two of the biggest principles of frugality often seem to point people in opposite directions. On one side, we have the idea of minimizing the amount you spend. It’s often a good goal to plan nutritious meals for the week with minimum expense, seek out needed household supplies at the lowest possible rate, reduce your …

  • Teaching Children Frugality

    One of the most rewarding aspects of being a parent is watching as your child’s mind grows. An infant relies on you for virtually everything, but as time passes, that infant becomes a toddler, then a child. At each step – seemingly on a daily basis – that child’s ability to make decisions and think …

  • Five Simple Tactics for Keeping the Winter Chill Out

    It is cold here. Really, really cold. During the day, I usually turn the temperature in our house down fairly low. I work on the top floor, where it’s usually a few degrees warmer than other parts of the house, and I wear layers of clothes and warm socks. Because of that, I usually feel …

  • What’s Your “Frugality Tastefulness Line”?

    A few weeks ago, I was riding shotgun on a lengthy road trip with a friend of mine when we made a stop at Taco Bell. We ordered our food and sat down when I noticed that he had a small mountain of sauce packets on his tray. I asked him whether his burrito was …

  • Eight Little Ways to Easily Save Money on Holiday Expenses

    The month of December seems to always be a month of nickels and dimes slowly eating away at a family’s budget. There are always little expenses that need to be handled due to the holiday season, whether it’s related to gifts or to food or to travel or to … well, countless other little things. …

  • Why Thoughtful Presents Always Trump Expensive Ones

    When I was younger, I worried quite a bit about the gifts that I needed to get for some of the people I cared most about in my life. I’d worry and worry about picking out an item that would really show exactly how much I cared for them. Inevitably, that meant spending quite a …

  • White Friday: The Anti-Black Friday

    Here are my big plans for tomorrow. I plan on sleeping in until about eight in the morning – or, more likely, until my children hop in bed with me and wake me up. I’m going to eat a home-cooked breakfast with my parents, my wife, and my children. After that, I plan on spending …

  • Use It Until It Breaks?

    Jerry writes in: “I was reading on another blog about replacing things that work with better versions of the same item like clothes hangers. To me, it makes more sense to just keep using something until it actually breaks, then replace it, but that’s just my sense of wanting to get every last drop out …

  • Twenty Simple Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season

    Thanksgiving. Hanukkah. Christmas. The holiday season can be painfully expensive, with gifts and meals and beverages and snacks and lodging and travel revolving around many of us. With all of those incidental expenses floating around, there are also a lot of ways to save money. Here are twenty ways that we’ll be saving money this …

  • How a Slow Cooker Can Save Your Family Hundreds of Dollars

    This article first appeared on U.S. News and World Report Money. When most people think of a slow cooker, they think of a device of convenience. It saves time, after all. You can put your ingredients into the pot in the morning, come home from work, and find a meal already prepared for you, saving …

  • Reflections on a Child’s Birthday

    Our oldest child celebrated a birthday this week. He received several gifts and had a small party, which is almost exactly what he asked for. Over the years, we’ve had big parties and small parties. Our children have received many gifts at once and just a few gifts. We’ve had elaborate celebrations and simple ones. …

  • Living on Ramen (for a While)

    When I was a college student, I would often buy mass quantities of ramen noodles, particularly when the local store had a sale. Every once in a while, the store down the block from where I lived during my later college years would sell ramen noodle packets at a rate of 12 for $1. I …