Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Take Advantage of What Stores Know About You

Stores and businesses make it their business to collect private information on their customers. That's no secret. We complain about it and sometimes try to stop them from getting it, but that's pretty hard to do. Instead, you can take advantage of what they already know anyway, and save money!

Those "loyalty cards" are information gathering tracers that tell the store what you buy and how often you buy it. Stores sometimes use this information to give you "personal" coupons to lure you back into the store. So... why not? Use the coupons if you will buy the product anyway. Just don't buy anything else at the time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Are You Ready for Christmas?

I know. It's only July and no, you are not ready for Christmas! Well, maybe it sounds pretty good if you're having as hot a summer as we are, but we have a few weeks to go..  17 weeks from the end of July.

Putting it that way doesn't make it sound so far away, does it? And as fast as time flies nowadays, it's really not.

I'm not trying to stress you! As a matter of fact, if you follow this advice, next Christmas could be the easiest one you've ever had.

Right now, while garage sales are going strong, is a good time to go looking for gifts. I don't mean to give "used gifts" but to look for collectibles, "almost antiques" and special items that those on your list would like.

If you know someone who collects penguins or angels or whatever, it's entirely possible that you could find a plate or necklace or statuette or something cool with that motif on it.

Does someone on your list love old music? Just look. One time I came across a stack of old piano sheet music. That was a real find!

Look for materials for hand made gifts, too. If you're a knitter or crocheter, yarn can sometimes be found for pennies on the dollar.

Make a list of people you will need to buy for, then brainstorm the list and add any special interests they have.

Then go garage saling and see what you can find! You could very well have your gift list well under way before school starts!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

7 Ways to Enjoy a Frugal Summer Staycation

Not all vacations have to be taken away from home! Some of the most memorable time outs from the rat race can be taken in your own back yard (literally or figuratively), but if you decide to make this year a staycation instead of a vacation, you may have made a very wise choice.

First, a staycation can be a lot less stressful. You don't have to juggle traveling schedules or find someone to water the lawn or care for the pets. You can sleep in your own familiar bed and won't forget to bring your allergy medicine/jacket/toothbrush.

Secondly, a staycation

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Why worry about plastic bags?

In my last post, I asked what you would do if they quit making plastic grocery bags, but why worry about them, anyway? Sadly, most of the trillion or so plastic bags used each year are simply tossed in the trash and taken to landfills where it takes hundreds of years for them to degrade.

Besides the more mundane uses like carrying things other than groceries, plastic bags can be used very creatively. Just look at some of the things I found on Etsy that are made from plastic bags!

According to Reuseit, the average family in America

Monday, June 20, 2016

What will you do if there are no more plastic grocery bags?

The threat of making them illegal has been around for years. I first wrote about it well over 10 years ago. Nothing happened then and nothing happened the next time I heard about it. It's back again. I won't say nothing will happen, because someone keeps trying.

What will you do if there are no more plastic bags? They've become such a part of my household that I would hate to do without! I understand the ecological concern, but I am not on board with it. If they outlaw free plastic bags, we will just have to buy the non free kind. How does that help?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Independence Day, USA

Its not so far away! The Fourth of July is probably the most frugal of holidays - or it could be, anyway. If yours is filled with expensive carnival rides and even more expensive fireworks, it might not be.

Those two things are tradition for many families, so I won't tell you to forget them, but I will tell you to use common sense when paying for them. Buy a "bracelet" if they sell them, to get cheaper rides at the carnival and go easy on the fireworks. Extravagance doesn't always equal wow power.

Other than that, how can you save when celebrating Independence Day?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Money, Your Money, Our Money

Even in this age of equality, women generally still have a better grasp (not to be sexist, just stating a generality!) of what is required daily to run a household, from safety pins to bath towels and from how many apples are in the refrigerator to who took the last shower. Thus, it makes sense for whoever fits this role to put the frugal eye on the countless ways a household wastes or makes money.

Who wants to do that alone, while their partner spends what s/he has with no thought of whether they need toilet paper? To solve this problem, many couples have turned to "my money, your money and our money."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Cut Your Water Costs

Most of us are entering into a season of high water use. Besides watering lawns and gardens, kiddie pools need filling, we take more showers and baths because of outdoor activities, and we tend to want to play in water because of the heat.

Along with recent increases in utility bills, water bills will no doubt be rising in the near future so now is the time to get a head start on saving.

Outside, only water your lawn or garden when it needs it. I know... surely everyone knows that!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Outgo and Income

Frugal living is mostly about controlling the outgo of your resources, but what if, after all the cuts and controls you can make, there still isn't enough money to do what you need or want?

The next step is increasing the income. It's not always the easiest thing to do, but getting a second job or adding some freelance work is usually an option. Even a few hours a week can make a difference in your bottom line.

What to do is the big question.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Debt as a Matter of Life

Credit cards make debt, not safety nets

Disclaimer: There are times when going into debt is simply unavoidable. Unexpected bills, a loss of income or major life changes can throw anyone's finances off. Those are not the people I'm talking about here. I'm talking about those who go into credit card debt continually and unnecessarily.

Some time ago, I was sent a link to an article in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star called "Americans Using Credit Cards to Pay for Basics." Unfortunately, the page is no longer online, but it was disheartening to read. It's not because I think times are so tough that people are having to go into debt just to survive, but I hated it because it showcased people who really don't know how to survive without credit cards. It even evokes sympathy for them.