Frugality

Revising and Setting New Money Goals

Over the past few months, our finances have been in something of a “reset” mode. In the process of taking more control of the advertisements on The Simple Dollar’s website (which is my primary source of income), I had to change billing systems. With my previous primary advertising representative – Google – I would get …

Frugality That’s “Impossible”

If you’ve read The Simple Dollar for long, you’ve seen tons of lists of money-saving tips, from 100 little steps for saving money and 100 free things to do this weekend to fifty ways to have fun by yourself on the cheap and my frugal vacation guide to Dallas/Fort Worth, just to name a few. …

The Valuable Art of Media Swapping

Recently, I’ve been enjoying the first season of Mad Men on DVD. Literally dozens of readers had recommended to me and I picked up the DVD set with a gift certificate a month or so ago. I’d never seen it before and it’s been a real pleasure to dig into it – it’s as subtle, …

Eating What You Have On Hand

As I’ve discussed many times before, eating at home is a huge money saver. Even if you use expensive ingredients all the time (like saffron or morel mushrooms), it’s still cheaper to cook at home than it is to consistently eat out (assuming you’re eating better than the McDonalds Dollar Menu). Similarly, it’s cheaper to …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

The Real Lessons of “How Low Can You Go?”

Over the past eight Fridays, I’ve posted a series of recipes based on NPR’s “How Low Can You Go” series, highlighting meals that can serve a family of four for under $10. Here’s the list of recipes, for those interested: Vegetarian Burrito Bowls Potato-Peanut Curry Chicken-and-Corn Fried Rice with Lemon Spinach Lemony Fettuccine with Asparagus …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

The Personal Finance Toolbox

I like to think of one’s personal finance state as something like a toolbox. In order to accomplish a major task, one must use more than one tool from their toolbox to make it happen. Let me explain with a bit more detail. The Tools There are many, many different personal finance tools in one’s …

Dorm Room Clutter: What Do You Actually Need for College

A few days ago, I stumbled across a handful of pictures from my college dorm room (I considered posting them, but there are several people depicted and I don’t post pictures of people without asking them permission and I’m not sure how to contact them). As I looked them over (and enjoyed some memories), I …

Categories: Education, Frugality

How Low Can You Go? Vegetarian Burrito Bowls

In April and May, National Public Radio featured a series on inexpensive gourmet dishes entitled “How Low Can You Go?” Although many of the dishes looked quite tasty, most of the dishes weren’t actually all that inexpensive, often narrowly getting below $10 to feed a family of four, and many involved arduous cooking processes. I …

The Source of Frugal Misery

Kevin writes in: Your examples of how to live frugally make it sound like your life [is terrible]. Why are you sacrificing all happiness to save a buck? If I had your life, I’d be miserable. Live a little, dude. Most of the frugal advice I give usually revolves around some clever substitutions or the …

Freezer and Fridge Hacks: Seven Ways to Maximize the Value of Your Refrigerator and Freezer

Your refrigerator/freezer combo is the biggest energy consumer among all of your appliances – seriously. It gobbles down around $100 in energy each year. Even worse, it’s often home to lots of wasted food – leftovers forgotten and allowed to spoil and so on. To put it simply, your refrigerator and freezer are money sinks. …

How Low Can You Go? Potato-Peanut Curry

In April and May, National Public Radio featured a series on inexpensive gourmet dishes entitled “How Low Can You Go?” Although many of the dishes looked quite tasty, most of the dishes weren’t actually all that inexpensive, often narrowly getting below $10 to feed a family of four, and many involved arduous cooking processes. I …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Thoughts on a Low Grocery Bill

Whenever I post a recipe or another food post, I usually hear from a reader or two who tout cooking everything from scratch. They’ll tell me about their very low food bill and encourage me to post recipes that start from even more staple-oriented food. A great example comes from my recent recipe for lemony …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

How Low Can You Go? Chicken-and-Corn Fried Rice with Lemon Spinach

In April and May, National Public Radio featured a series on inexpensive gourmet dishes entitled “How Low Can You Go?” Although many of the dishes looked quite tasty, most of the dishes weren’t actually all that inexpensive, often narrowly getting below $10 to feed a family of four, and many involved arduous cooking processes. I …

Passion by the Hour

On our DVD shelf, which is admittedly quite thinner than it used to be, there are quite a few DVDs that we’ve watched once and are simply accumulating dust. Assuming a cost of $15 per DVD and a two hour movie, our hourly cost is about $7.50. On the other hand, we have our Pixar …

Categories: Frugality

Does Earning More Trump Frugality?

Milton writes in with a good question, worthy of discussion: I don’t see why I should spend fifteen minutes making a batch of homemade laundry detergent just to save a few bucks when I could spend that fifteen minutes building my career. Most “frugality tips” seem like a waste of time. Let’s say you have …

Categories: Careers, Frugality

How Low Can You Go? Cheesy Corkscrews with Crunchy Bacon Topping

In April and May, National Public Radio featured a series on inexpensive gourmet dishes entitled “How Low Can You Go?” Although many of the dishes looked quite tasty, most of the dishes weren’t actually all that inexpensive, often narrowly getting below $10 to feed a family of four, and many involved arduous cooking processes. I …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Frugality’s Sacred Cows

I define frugality as getting the maximum value for your dollar while living squarely within your means, which is a pretty reasonable definition. I wouldn’t expect someone making $15,000 a year that doesn’t sweat what they eat to make the same food choices as someone making $50,000 a year who highly values the quality of …

Categories: Frugality

Review: 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. If you’ve been reading The Simple Dollar for a while, you’ll know that I’m a fan of WiseBread. It’s a “group” personal finance blog with a small pack of contributing writers, some of which I quite like (like Philip Brewer). 10,001 Ways to Live …

How Low Can You Go? Dal, Chilean Style

In April and May, National Public Radio featured a series on inexpensive gourmet dishes entitled How Low Can You Go?” Although many of the dishes looked quite tasty, most of the dishes weren’t actually all that inexpensive, often narrowly getting below $10 to feed a family of four, and many involved arduous cooking processes. I …