Frugality

Ethical Frugality Week: Serving Leftovers

Throughout this week, I’m posting a series of articles on the ethics of frugality. How far can you take things without crossing an ethical line or diving into seriously socially unacceptable waters? I’ll be recounting some of my own stories – and some stories from readers – along the way. “Jim” writes in: A married …

Categories: Frugality

Ethical Frugality Week: Lifetime Guarantees

Over the upcoming week, I’ll be posting a series of articles on the ethics of frugality. How far can you take things without crossing an ethical line or diving into seriously socially unacceptable waters? I’ll be recounting some of my own stories – and some stories from readers – along the way. “Megan” writes in: …

Categories: Frugality

Ethical Frugality Week: Sampling Content

Over the upcoming week, I’ll be posting a series of articles on the ethics of frugality. How far can you take things without crossing an ethical line or diving into seriously socially unacceptable waters? I’ll be recounting some of my own stories – and some stories from readers – along the way. A long while …

Categories: Frugality

Ethical Frugality Week: Free Samples

Over the upcoming week, I’ll be posting a series of articles on the ethics of frugality. How far can you take things without crossing an ethical line or diving into seriously socially unacceptable waters? I’ll be recounting some of my own stories – and some stories from readers – along the way. A few weeks …

Categories: Frugality

Ethical Frugality Week: Haggling

Over the upcoming week, I’ll be posting a series of articles on the ethics of frugality. How far can you take things without crossing an ethical line or diving into seriously socially unacceptable waters? I’ll be recounting some of my own stories – and some stories from readers – along the way. A little over …

Categories: Frugality

Ethical Frugality Week: Hotel Visits

Over the upcoming week, I’ll be posting a series of articles on the ethics of frugality. How far can you take things without crossing an ethical line or diving into seriously socially unacceptable waters? I’ll be recounting some of my own stories – and some stories from readers – along the way. “Maddie” writes in: …

Categories: Frugality

Ethical Frugality Week: Hidden Replacements

Over the upcoming week, I’ll be posting a series of articles on the ethics of frugality. How far can you take things without crossing an ethical line or diving into seriously socially unacceptable waters? I’ll be recounting some of my own stories – and some stories from readers – along the way. “Jane” (we must …

Categories: Frugality

Hidden Treasures from Thrift Shops

One of my favorite parts of being frugal is that I often go shopping at thrift stores. Thrift stores are unusual places. They’re often just collections of the stuff that well-off people no longer want to have or to deal with, so they just drop it off at Goodwill. That means there’s usually a lot …

The Challenge – and the Advantage – of Going Minimal

A few days ago, an article about minimalist money appeared at Get Rich Slowly, in which the guest author (Leo) advocated going strongly minimal with your spending – opting out of consumerism as much as humanly possible, cutting every optional service, and essentially starting again from a blank slate. Some of the readers unsurprisingly reacted …

Frugal Soups and Stews on Busy Weekends

Many weekends – like this upcoming one, for instance – our family is quite busy. We have guests over. We go on family excursions to places like the Science Center of Iowa. We shop for groceries. We go to club meetings. We go to church. We play for hours with the kids. We get caught …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

A Weekend at Our House

This past weekend was a typical one at our house – lots of time spent together as a family and surprisingly little money spent. There were activities that cost very little, bartering, home improvement projects, and time spent together as a family. During the weekend, I kept a notebook, jotting down the things that we …

Gasoline, Groceries, and the Cost of Time

Recently, my wife was in rural area of Iowa where the gas prices were significantly higher than they are near where we live. While there, the amount of gas in her tank got low, so she stopped to fill up. After looking at the price and doing a quick bit of mental math, she chose …

Modular Meals

Now that my wife has returned to full time work, we’ve been focusing a lot on careful meal planning for the coming week. We’ll sit down on Sunday mornings, plot out what we’ll eat over the coming week, and prepare a grocery list. One very helpful technique for a busy family like ours is making …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

How Traditional “Rules” of Frugality Undervalue Time

A few weeks ago, I met up with an old friend of mine who reads The Simple Dollar. After a bit of catching up, he started criticizing me on my purchase of a Prius. “You’re basically throwing your money away there,” he told me. He then went on to describe how he buys cars – …

Categories: Frugality

Some Thoughts on a Cultural Shift Towards Frugality

Jenna writes in: Do you think frugality is more socially acceptable now than it was a few years ago? Many of my friends are spending less money than they used to and we swap tips on how to save money all the time. This is a new thing for us. I’ve been asked questions along …

Categories: Frugality

Abandoning the Paper Towel

We have little kids. Kids are messy. Our daughter spills milk or juice on almost a nightly basis. Our son, who’s a bit older, doesn’t make messes as often, but when he does, they tend to be even more disastrous, such as a full jar of salsa knocked off the counter and shattered all over …

Categories: Frugality

Addition by Subtraction: The Benefits of a “Fall Cleaning”

One of my favorite activities during a year is spring cleaning. After a long winter of being stuck inside and intimate with our possessions, the arrival of warm spring weather makes me throw open the windows to let the breeze blow through and just start tossing accumulated junk. I usually wind up with enough stuff …

Frugality as a “Spending Transfer”

Of all the posts on The Simple Dollar, the post that seems to drive the most emails to me is my homemade laundry detergent guide. People seem to hardly believe that I actually make my own laundry detergent. My response to these dumbfounded emails has evolved over time (yes, I get so many emails on …

Categories: Frugality

12 Clever Substitutions That Save Money (Nearly) Effortlessly

One of my favorite ways to trim money from my spending is to find simple little substitutes for my regular expenses. If I can trim a few bucks from the cost of household supplies, routine purchases, and other things like that, over the long run, that can add up to a lot of money with …

Categories: Frugality