Frugality

How to Trim Expenses without Losing Things You Enjoy

As I’ve mentioned before on The Simple Dollar, I spent a lot of 2006 and 2007 cutting major expenses from my life. During that period, my family’s finances were in peril, so I felt a strong need to come up with every single dollar that I could. The solution was to cut my spending, then …

The “Cheap Neighborhood” Problem

Connie writes in: “Right now, we pay $1,000 a month in rent. About ten minutes away, there are houses available that are as low as $300 a month in rent and they’re perfectly fine houses. The problem is the neighborhood. The area is loaded with people on welfare and most of the yards are really …

Is Premium Gas Worth It?

You’re standing at the gas pump. There are multiple fuel types available – a low-cost type that’s marked with an 87 octane rating that also has 10% ethanol, a medium priced gas that’s 87 but more expensive than the ethanol gas, and a premium fuel that has a 91 octane rating. (Note that you may …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

Frugality as a Life Preserver?

In April 2006, our lives were in crisis mode. We had a ton of consumer debt and student loan debt, yet we didn’t have enough cash in our checking account or savings account to pay the bills. We had a small child at home and all we could see around us was financial disaster. In …

Categories: Frugality

Replacing Regular Purchases With One-Time Purchases

Going to the grocery store is an exercise in frustration. Why? Almost everything you buy there is consumable. You buy it. You eat it or use it. Next week, you have to go back to the store and buy more. It’s an endless funnel of money straight out of your pocket. My solution to this …

When Price Per Unit Fails You

A few weeks ago, Sarah and I were dining at a nice restaurant. As we were ordering, the waiter told us a bit about their wine cellar and showed us a wine list while also making recommendations for good pairings with our food. We looked at the list and eventually decided to order a bottle …

Categories: Frugality

Frugality and Buying American

Mark writes in: “One of my biggest struggles with becoming frugal is that most of the inexpensive items aren’t made in the United States. I used to make an effort to buy as many products as I could from local places and tried to make sure they were made in the U.S. but doing that …

Categories: Frugality

The Future of Cheap Television

A few days ago, at the Consumer Electronics Show, an announcement was made that I think points toward a future, a few years down the road, of very inexpensive television service for anyone, regardless of their interests. World Wrestling Entertainment – yes, the professional wrestling company – announced an online streaming service a la Netflix …

The Slow Cooker Lunch Cycle

It’s pretty easy to understand the desire to eat out in the middle of a workday. It can be really inconvenient to prepare a meal before you go to work, after all, and many of the meals you can throw together in a minute in the morning are pretty bland. The problem is that eating …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

The Gift Card Shuffle

Annika sent in this great idea that I wanted to discuss in a post of its own: “I agree that gift cards aren’t a good idea for gifts, but I do find them pretty useful. We have a membership at Sam’s Club and they sell gift cards at a discount. If I know I’m going …

Categories: Frugality

Four Frugal Projects for the First Weekend of the Year – and How Much You’ll Save This Year If You Do Them

The first weekend of the year is coming up. If you live anywhere in the northern half of the United States – or north of there – you’re probably going to be focusing on indoor activities for the weekend. Thankfully, there are a lot of frugal projects you can take on. Here are four of …

Categories: 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: Family, Frugality

5 Simple Tactics to Reduce Heating Costs

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, Shopping