Frugality

Review: The New Frugality

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. The title of this book hooked me from the start. What am I writing about at The Simple Dollar if I’m not writing about “the new frugality”? Chris Farrell, the author of the book, is a name I’m familiar with …

Summer Meal Series #2: Grilled Vegetable Kabobs, Barbecued Beans, and Rice

What’s on the table this summer? Summer Cookout: Vegetable Kabobs Our meals are usually pretty heavy on the vegetables and fruits by default. Often, our main course is a meat of some sort – fish, beef, pork, and chicken are all game – but those are almost always paired by at least one vegetable side …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Summer Meal Series #1: Honey Mustard Chicken Strips

What’s on the table this summer? Honey Mustard Chicken Strips I have a four year old and a two year old at home. That means, at meal times, it’s often much easier to eat finger foods than foods covered in sauce because, inevitably, the sauce gets spilled all over the place. Thus, we’re often seeking …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Five Simple Substitutions, One Big Change

It’s amazing how much money can be saved by making one simple change in your life. I ran the numbers on several changes (using the behavior of the average American) and was shocked at the financial savings of a single simple change. Drink water instead of soda. Average annual savings: $152 Facts: Tap water is …

Categories: Frugality

Review: Better Groceries for Less Cash

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Better Groceries for Less Cash by Randall Putala has a subtitle that pretty clearly describes what you’ll find inside the covers: 101 Tested and Proven Ways to Save on Food. While organized into chapters, this fairly short book’s main purpose …

Coupon Organization: A Survey of How People Do It

My wife and I use coupons for many of our household products, from toothpaste and garbage bags to toilet paper and Tones spices (yes, I had a coupon for this once upon a time). While we don’t use many for actual food products (since most of the advertised food is more or less junk food), …

Categories: Frugality

Dressed for Success, the Frugal Way

Anne writes in: After searching for most of a year after getting my degree, I finally found a great job which I’m starting just after Memorial Day. The problem is that I don’t know what to wear. I don’t want to stand out as being poorly dressed but I don’t want to dump thousands into …

Categories: Frugality

Why Do I Talk About Frugality?

Adam writes in: I’m not feeling the vibe from your recent posts about how to save a few pennies washing Ziploc bags. This won’t get me rich. Getting rich isn’t the point. One of my favorite people in the world, Rachel, currently works for a non-profit organization in the Seattle area. She works there because …

How Much Do You Really Save By Air-Drying Your Clothes?

When I was growing up, my mother always hung clothes out to dry, sometimes even in the winter. Where I currently live, there’s not really a place to install a clothesline that would catch any wind at all (I could put one at the edge of our property where it would catch a little wind, …

Categories: Frugality

What About Freezer Bags?

After seeing more than a hundred comments and several dozen emails about the rewashing Ziploc sandwich bags article from last weekend, I felt it was appropriate to address the most common follow-up question: You’ve mentioned yourself in the past that you re-wash Ziploc bags! What gives? I do, in fact, rewash those large, ultra-durable gallon-sized …

Categories: Frugality

Does Rewashing Ziploc Bags Really Save You Money?

Mal writes in: I loved your post about how little you save by not flushing. You should do the same thing about your favorite bugaboo, rewashing Ziploc bags! Rewashing Ziploc sandwich bags is something that I’ve joked about being a frugality “step too far” since the first days of The Simple Dollar. In March 2009, …

Categories: Frugality

Do You Save Money By Not Flushing?

Jennifer writes in: My husband grew up in an area that often had summer droughts and water rationing. Because of that, he was trained as a child to stick to the “if it’s yellow let it mellow if it’s brown flush it down” mantra. We’re married and live in an area that doesn’t have any …

Categories: Frugality

Family Dinner Night

One of my readers recently wrote to me, telling me about the “family dinner night” they host. Here’s how it works. Once a month, on a set day that everyone knows about (they do it on the second Friday of each month), they have a “family dinner night.” Once you’re invited to this event, you’re …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Seven Tiny Things to Care About and Why

Quite often, you’ll see personal finance writers talk about the big things – the single moves that will save you quite a lot per month. Downgrade your living quarters! Sell that car! Buy a used car! Change your insurance! Those things are flashy because they can save you a lot of money with one action. …

Low Calorie Food and Long Term Costs

Over the past few weeks, I’ve read dozens of articles that repeat the same refrain: healthy, low calorie meals cost more than high calorie meals. Fresh, healthy foods with a low caloric density are more strongly affected by inflation and carry a higher cost per ounce than processed foods with a high caloric density. A …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Don’t Buy Stuff to Try to Create a New Habit

Jennifer writes in: I’m getting very frustrated with my husband. Every few months he will come up with some new personal project he wants to work on. He tried woodworking a few years ago. A few months ago he tried cooking. Now it’s exercise. As soon as he gets into that mindset, he goes and …

The Cost of Overuse

All of us use a lot of household products every day. Soap. Shampoo. Conditioner. Toothpaste. Hand soap. Dishwashing detergent. Laundry detergent. The list goes on and on. Many of these items are used so routinely that we don’t even step back and think about them. We squirt some toothpaste on our toothbrush. We use a …

Categories: Frugality

Enjoy Your Hobbies with Minimal Spending

One big problem that many people have when they adopt a frugal lifestyle is the perceived reduction in enjoyment they’re going to have in their hobbies. Entertainment spending is one of the obvious places to cut in a budget because it’s not a base need, but it is a very painful cut. If done recklessly, …

An Argument for Secondhand Store Clothes, Even If You Must Dress Nicely

Monica writes in: I don’t understand how you can recommend that people shop in thrift stores for clothes. The stuff there is usually worn out and just looks bad and outdated. I would never wear that stuff to work. It sounds to me like you’ve made up your mind about thrift stores and secondhand stores …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

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