Frugality

The Value of Personal Appearance

One of the greatest challenges of living a lifestyle of financial freedom is determining the exact value of personal appearance. How does one balance a desire for less expensive clothing and personal care items with the expectations of the culture that enables their income and personal lives? On the one hand, many people who overspend …

Walt

I live next door to an old man named Walt. He lives by himself and is pretty quiet. He spends most afternoons riding around on his bicycle or playing his dobro (a variation on a guitar). Every few days, I stop in and talk to Walt because he’s lonely and can be a good conversationalist. …

Categories: Frugality, Retirement

A Christmas List: Before and After Financial Armageddon

Each year, our families have a cyclical Christmas tradition. On Veteran’s Day weekend, everyone makes a list of five to ten things that they want for Christmas that year with the majority of the items less than $20. It’s not so much a list of things that we expect to get for Christmas, but a …

Categories: Frugality, Gifts

Video Game Addict? Here’s A Plan For Saving A Lot Of Money

Even during my worst days of spending, it was clear to me that I was overspending on my video game hobby. In fact, it became one of the first things that I cut my spending on. I was able to do this by developing a clear plan for cutting back on my video game purchases. …

If I Could Do It All Over Again: Advising Myself At Age Eighteen

Ten years ago, I was in the midst of my freshman year in college. I had very little concept of money or what to do with it, but at that point I still had an overall positive net worth. If only I knew then what I know now, I sometimes think to myself, particularly when …

Evaluating and Minimizing Hobby Expenses

I have a multitude of hobbies that I enjoy, but lately I’ve been evaluating them more carefully in terms of the time spent and their cost. I spent two weeks recording the time I spent on my various hobbies and then estimated the cost of that time spent to get a “cost per hour” estimate …

Saving Money on Road Trips

My wife and I live more than four hours away from our hometowns, so when we visit our parents and extended family, we spend a lot of time in the car. Over the years, we have developed several techniques for optimizing the cost of the trip. Here’s what we do: Perform some basic car maintenance …

Categories: Frugality, Travel

The Road to Financial Armageddon #9: The Road to Recovery

Yesterday, I described my financial meltdown, when I reached a point where there was more money going out each month than coming in with no real hope for redemption without a change from within. Then, thanks to some inspiration, I made that change. The first thing I did was I laid out every single expense …

The Author of The Simple Dollar Admits to Being an Idiot

That’s right, readers, I’m an idiot. There’s really not much more to say other than that. I am capable of coming up with some useful ideas and combining them into sensible plans, but in terms of putting them all together… well, the best I can say is that sometimes you have to learn from your …

Defining eBay “Best Practices” For Dollar-Conscious Non-Professional Sellers

Over several years as a regular but non-professional eBay seller and buyer, I’ve been accumulating a set of “best practices” for online auctioneering as a seller. eBay has regularly published such lists, but these lists are often skewed towards choosing “best” practices for maximizing your profits only when they overlap with eBay’s utility and profits. …

Categories: eBay, Frugality

Saving Big Money on a Computer Upgrade

Recently, I provided some extensive consultation to a couple looking to upgrade their home computer. They had purchased the machine in 1999 and were looking to buy a replacement machine for it with a budget of $1000, and they wanted my advice on how to maximize their purchase. If you are a techie, please note …

How Being a Nielsen Family Saved Us Hundreds of Dollars

Several months ago, my family was invited by the Nielsen Ratings to be a “Nielsen Family,” in other words, we were given a few dollars to spend a week filling out a booklet detailing every television program that we watched in a given week and who watched it. Given that we generally only watch a …

Categories: Frugality, Television

A Gas Station Trick That Puts Money In Your Pocket

The next time you fill up, spend an extra few minutes at the gas station performing a simple, free task, and you’ll put a few dollars right in your pocket. The secret is air. Most gas stations have a free air pump for your tires available on the side of the station. A lot of …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

Saving On A Child’s First Birthday Party

We wanted to create a first birthday party for our child that would be full of memories for all of the attendees and would make for a great home movie for him to watch later (as he is too young to remember it himself), but since he is only one, we didn’t want to have …

Categories: Frugality, Parenting

How Your Local “Alternative” Newspapers Can Save You Money

In my area, there are three weekly “alternative” newspapers, supported by advertisements, that can be picked up for free in the entrance to the local grocery stores. I used to be (at best) peripherally aware of the existence of these newspapers; I’d just stroll right by them on my way in to do my shopping. …

Categories: Frugality, Periodicals

Free Toys For Your Infant Or Toddler

When my son was born, I wanted him to have the best of everything, so at first we spent a good deal of money on all sorts of stuff. Rattles, balls, play pens, and so forth – we dumped a lot of money on these things. Do you want to guess what his three favorite …

Categories: Frugality, Parenting

The Art of Buying in Bulk

Many people simply go into a store, look for the items they want, and leave. Others (those who are a bit savvier) go into a store, find the item they want, compare all of the sizes, and buy the one that is the cheapest per unit. These people get a lot of bang for their …

Categories: Frugality, Groceries

Liquid Laptop Accident? 9 Steps To Save Your Laptop

If you’re like me, you’ve probably spilled something on your laptop at some point during your computing experience. For me, it happened just last week with a tall latte all over the keyboard and display, dripping down in the cracks and crevasses of my laptop. As soon as it happened, I figured it would be …

Six Surprising Ways To Save Money With A Baby

It’s amazing how a baby can turn your life upside down. There is nothing that surpasses the feeling of holding your own child for the first time, looking down at the baby’s face, and realizing that they depend on you for everything. What you soon find out, though, is that everything is quite expensive. Here …

Categories: Frugality, Parenting