Frugality

Does Micro-Frugality Matter?

One of the strongest sources of negative feedback I receive about The Simple Dollar is my “obsession” with what I’d call micro-frugality. I’ll be the first person to admit that my attention is often grabbed by small details. I like to know exactly how much I’m spending in water usage per minute in the shower. …

Categories: Frugality

Frugality, Hot Water, and Health

A few weeks ago, Sarah and I traveled to spend Thanksgiving at the home of some of our extended family members. The first morning we were there, I grabbed some clothes and headed for the bathroom to take a shower. Just like I do at home, I turned the hot water to full and turned …

Categories: Frugality

When to Skimp and When to Spend More for Quality

Two of the biggest principles of frugality often seem to point people in opposite directions. On one side, we have the idea of minimizing the amount you spend. It’s often a good goal to plan nutritious meals for the week with minimum expense, seek out needed household supplies at the lowest possible rate, reduce your …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

Teaching Kids About Money

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a parent is watching as your child’s mind grows. An infant relies on you for virtually everything, but as time passes, that infant becomes a toddler, then a child. At each step – seemingly on a daily basis – that child’s ability to make decisions and think …

Categories: Frugality, Parenting

Five Simple Tactics for Keeping the Winter Chill Out

It is cold here. Really, really cold. During the day, I usually turn the temperature in our house down fairly low. I work on the top floor, where it’s usually a few degrees warmer than other parts of the house, and I wear layers of clothes and warm socks. Because of that, I usually feel …

Categories: Frugality, Housing

What’s Your “Frugality Tastefulness Line”?

A few weeks ago, I was riding shotgun on a lengthy road trip with a friend of mine when we made a stop at Taco Bell. We ordered our food and sat down when I noticed that he had a small mountain of sauce packets on his tray. I asked him whether his burrito was …

Categories: Frugality

Eight Little Ways to Easily Save Money on Holiday Expenses

The month of December seems to always be a month of nickels and dimes slowly eating away at a family’s budget. There are always little expenses that need to be handled due to the holiday season, whether it’s related to gifts or to food or to travel or to … well, countless other little things. …

Categories: Frugality

Why Thoughtful Presents Always Trump Expensive Ones

When I was younger, I worried quite a bit about the gifts that I needed to get for some of the people I cared most about in my life. I’d worry and worry about picking out an item that would really show exactly how much I cared for them. Inevitably, that meant spending quite a …

Categories: Frugality, Gifts

White Friday: The Anti-Black Friday

Here are my big plans for tomorrow. I plan on sleeping in until about eight in the morning – or, more likely, until my children hop in bed with me and wake me up. I’m going to eat a home-cooked breakfast with my parents, my wife, and my children. After that, I plan on spending …

Categories: Christmas, Frugality

Use It Until It Breaks?

Jerry writes in: “I was reading on another blog about replacing things that work with better versions of the same item like clothes hangers. To me, it makes more sense to just keep using something until it actually breaks, then replace it, but that’s just my sense of wanting to get every last drop out …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

Twenty Simple Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season

Thanksgiving. Hanukkah. Christmas. The holiday season can be painfully expensive, with gifts and meals and beverages and snacks and lodging and travel revolving around many of us. With all of those incidental expenses floating around, there are also a lot of ways to save money. Here are twenty ways that we’ll be saving money this …

How a Slow Cooker Can Save Your Family Hundreds of Dollars

This article first appeared on U.S. News and World Report Money. When most people think of a slow cooker, they think of a device of convenience. It saves time, after all. You can put your ingredients into the pot in the morning, come home from work, and find a meal already prepared for you, saving …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Reflections on a Child’s Birthday

Our oldest child celebrated a birthday this week. He received several gifts and had a small party, which is almost exactly what he asked for. Over the years, we’ve had big parties and small parties. Our children have received many gifts at once and just a few gifts. We’ve had elaborate celebrations and simple ones. …

Living on Ramen (for a While)

When I was a college student, I would often buy mass quantities of ramen noodles, particularly when the local store had a sale. Every once in a while, the store down the block from where I lived during my later college years would sell ramen noodle packets at a rate of 12 for $1. I …

Don’t Go In!

The other day, I stopped at a gas station with my children in tow. Ordinarily, this would be a simple visit – I’d gas up, pay at the pump, jump back in, and we’d be on the road again. That day, though, my youngest one announced very loudly that he had to go to the …

Does Brown-Bagging Your Lunch Really Save You Money?

I was fascinated by this recent discussion at Lifehacker about whether brown-bagging your lunch is really much of a money saver. There were enough good points made on both sides that it really made me question whether or not brown-bagging really is a money saver. After thinking through the question and running the numbers on …

Some Thoughts on Store-Sponsored Free Activities for Children

As you’re reading this, my children are (probably) at Lowe’s (a hardware store) engaged in the store’s regular Saturday “Build and Grow” project. This time, they’re going to make “Spooky Stackers,” which is apparently a Jenga-like stacking game made out of wooden pieces. On the first Saturday of each month, Home Depot does a similar …

What Are You Buying? Another Way of Looking at “Cheap”

You need some cheddar cheese for a recipe you’re going to make, so you head to the store. The cheapest block of cheddar cheese costs… let’s say, $1.99. It’s got the logo of a giant multinational corporation on it. You don’t know where it was made. You don’t know what kind of milk is in …

Fourteen Ways to Save Money This Coming Week

If you’re like me, you thrive on to-do lists and a carefully planned schedule. I find that having a few things each day on my to-do list at the start of the week helps me to keep moving forward on the things I want to achieve. In that spirit, here’s a list of fourteen things …

Categories: Frugality