Frugality

Review: Bargain Junkie

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. You can check out my reviews of hundreds of personal finance books (and other related books of interest) all on one page. Bargain Junkie is an unabashed frugality book, focusing mostly on maximizing your “bang for the buck” when spending …

Shopping When You Need an Immediate Replacement

Yesterday, while in the middle of a conference call, our home telephone dropped dead. The phone’s small screen went black, came back on, and then refused to connect to the base. I switched to another phone – and the same problem occurred. I called back into the conference call using Skype, but afterwards, I continued …

Maximize Your Return On Investment, Guaranteed!

I have discovered a surefire way to maximize the returns you get on all of your investments, no matter what you’re investing in. If you follow this advice, I guarantee that if you have a winning investment now (even if it’s just barely in the positive), my tip will strongly improve the cash that investment …

Categories: Frugality, Investing

When Living Cheap Catches Up With You

Julia writes in: What do you do when frugal living catches up with you? As a family we had a much lower income from 2002 to 2007 (layoffs in the IT industry led to trying to survive on short contract work). We did not move home as that would have cost a fortune in fees …

Categories: Frugality

Frugality and Being Social

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine about some of the things I write about here on The Simple Dollar. Even though she’s struggling with some serious debt issues, she told me flatly that she didn’t want to take most of the advice given on The Simple Dollar. When I asked her …

Categories: Frugality

Trimming the Average Budget: Personal Care and Hygiene

Personal Care – $588/year Personal care is an area where you don’t “win” by cutting things out. Keep yourself clean. Brush your teeth. Basic hygiene keeps you clean and keeps you presentable, too. Yet, even here, there are ways to trim a little bit of spending without affecting your cleanliness or appearance. Here are a …

Categories: Frugality

Trimming the Average Budget: Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic Beverages – $457/year The solution to cutting this element of your budget is easy. Don’t drink. For many of us, though, that’s not really a solution. I often enjoy a glass of red wine with my dinner and I like a mixed drink once in a while, particularly on social occasions. I know I’m …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Trimming the Average Budget: Housekeeping Supplies

Housing – housekeeping supplies – $639/year Garbage bags. Dishwashing detergent. Window cleaner. Vacuum bags. Laundry detergent. These are all housekeeping supplies and, over the course of a year, they really add up. $53 a month goes down the drain just to these supplies (and often, it quite literally goes down the drain). Fortunately, this is …

Categories: Frugality

Trimming the Average Budget: Food at Home

Food – food at home – $3,465/year Another $300 a month component of the average family budget comes from merely eating at home. This does not include food eaten outside the home, nor does it include household cleaning supplies, toiletries, and other items that typically are bunched together in a family’s budget (since they’re often …

Trimming the Average Budget: Home Energy Costs

Housing – utilities, fuels, public services – $3,477/year The average American family spends almost $3,500 a year just keeping the energy going in their home. Between heating, cooling, and running the multitude of electronic devices in our homes, we’re paying an average of $300 a month to the energy companies. Fortunately, there are tons of …

How the Average American Family Spends Their Income – And How to Trim It

I’ve often wondered how the typical household budget is spent. Several times in 2009, I came across this thoroughly interesting infographic, originally from VisualEconomics.com: The link now goes to an updated video of how the average American spends their paycheck. The picture depicts how the average American family spends their income based on Department of …

A Day with My Wife

Last Tuesday, I spent an afternoon shopping with my wife. On the surface, it sounds like something we would have done five years ago, charging out to the stores, credit card in hand. Things were a little different this time, though. For one, we came home with fewer items than we left with. For two, …

The Other Side of the Frugality Fence

In a recent post at Get Rich Slowly, J.D. defined the “basic law of frugality” as this: “Decide what’s important to you. Give yourself permission to spend on these things. Pinch pennies on everything else.” That’s a pretty spot-on definition, in my opinion. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that …

Categories: Frugality

Is Netflix Worth It?

Jenna writes in: My husband and I have been talking about signing up for Netflix, but we’re just not sure if it’s worth the extra monthly bill. Do you have any thoughts or pointers? Sarah and I have been on-again off-again Netflix users for most of the past decade. Our experience taught us a few …

Six Free Games to Dig Into Over the Holidays

One of my biggest time management weaknesses is gaming. I love taking breaks to try out a new free computer game. Most of the time, though, the game’s not engrossing enough to hold my interest. This list is filled with the exceptions. Here are six free computer games that are so filled with incredibly enjoyable …

Frugality and Your Sense of Value

Earlier this week, I offered up a post detailing how I wrap Christmas gifts, utilizing brown paper and yarn. The response was mixed – some people didn’t like the aesthetics of the packaging, while others did (obviously, I’m in the latter camp, as I love the aesthetics of brown packages and yarn). Guess what? We’re …

Categories: Frugality

15 Uses for Incredibly Inexpensive White Vinegar

One of the best bargains in your local grocery store is plain old white vinegar. You can get a 32 ounce jug of it (half a gallon) for about $1.50 and it has a multitude of uses beyond the edible ones (like pickles and salad dressings). Here are fifteen uses for white vinegar, most of …

Categories: Frugality

How I Wrap Gifts, Christmas and Otherwise

Melanie writes in: Between the wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, tags, and other things, I’ve often spent $20-25 on just wrapping the gifts at Christmastime. This seems silly. How do you wrap presents? I’m sure you’ve got a less expensive way. To me, the purpose of wrapping paper is simply to disguise gifts from the receiver …

Why Frugality Works

Marco writes in: Most of your “money tips” are stupid. Why would I waste my time doing this stuff to save fifty cents? I want to learn how to make money not how to save a nickel. Whether or not you take advantage of the huge benefits of frugality is all a matter of perspective. …

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