Friday, October 31, 2008

Frugal Teenagers Mandatory

When Wendy Postle’s two children were younger, saying “yes” gave her great joy. Yes to all those toys. The music lessons. The blowout birthday parties. But as her son and daughter approached adolescence, yes turned into a weary default. “Sometimes it was just easier to say, ‘O.K., whatever,’ than to have the battle of ‘no,’ ” said Mrs. Postle, a working mother who lives in Hilliard, Ohio, a middle-class suburb of Columbus.

This year her husband’s 401(k) savings are evaporating. Medical bills are nipping at the couple’s heels. Gas prices are still taking a toll. Mrs. Postle recently decided that although she and her husband had always sacrificed their own luxuries for Zach, 13, and Kaitlyn, 15, the teenagers would now have to cut back as well.

“No” could no longer be the starting gun of family fights. It would have to be an absolute. Read the entire article.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frugal For The New Economy

To get a sense of the American economy, consider what’s in for summer: house parties instead of bar hopping, thrift stores instead of mall shopping, gardening instead of gourmet restaurants.

Americans have spent the past year or so complaining about the rising price of everything from bread to gas, and bemoaning the ways in which it has changed their lifestyle.

Now, as the reality of a down economy begins to sink in, experts say consumers are starting to embrace the simple life: staying close to home, cooking more, planting a garden and even delighting in bargain hunting. Some retailers, trying to make the best of the situation, have begun looking for ways to latch onto the trend as well.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spend Yourself Happy

From Gina Roberts-Grey

It turns out money can buy happiness. But there's a catch. You have to spend it on others. "We're significantly happier when spending prosocially" - on gifts or charity, says the University of British Columbia's Elizabeth Dunn, Ph. D., who led a survey of 600 Americans.

The difference was seen at all income levels and even when volunteers were given five bucks and a random assignment to spend it either on themselves or on others. Plus, says Dunn, the good feeling lasts six to eight weeks longer than that glow from your vacation.

Source: AARP October-November 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Frugality Hot Trend

Has saving money replaced America's devotion to shop till you drop? Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life has found lots of evidence that frugality is catching on across the nation.

A chart of what's in and what's out -- posted at SFGate, the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle -- says it best. Under "in" are such things as cooking at home and fixing the old car, as well as "library" and "tap water." The corresponding items under "out" are eating out, new car, bookstore and bottled water.

With the economy in or headed toward a recession, more people are less inclined to spend every dime they make and then some. "The International Monetary Fund predicts that household consumption will fall further in the next couple of years and that a 'prolonged period of belt-tightening' has just begun," "SVB" writes. Read the entire article.

Monday, October 27, 2008

American Road Trip On the Cheap

As the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge faded in my rear view mirror last Thursday afternoon, I had only one thought in my head: Finally! I had woken up late, had spent way too long packing for this road trip and had been sitting in Brooklyn traffic. Typical. Now, however, my Volvo was zipping over what was once the world’s longest suspension bridge, heading west, and nothing could stop me.

Nothing, that is, but the police officers at the toll plaza.

“Don’t let him leave!” shouted a transit officer. Was my 1989 station wagon in violation of some obscure regulation? Had my paying the $9 toll with a crisp $100 bill set off some alert?

No, the officer said: I had a video camera on the roof of my car, and filming New York City’s bridges and tunnels was illegal. I pulled off to the side and bit my nails while the officers talked among themselves, deciding my fate. Another delay, I sighed. Typical.

Not that it really mattered. After all, I was about to spend the next 12 weeks driving cross-country, seeing the United States as the Frugal Traveler and writing about (as well as videotaping) my journey. Five more minutes couldn’t hurt.

Read the entire article.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Family Dinners Big Benefit For Teens

A Columbia University study found that teens having family dinners five or more times a week were 42 percent less likely to drink alcohol, 59 percent less likely to smoke cigarettes, and 66 percent less likely to try marijuana.

The report comes from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. It's based on national phone survey of 1,000 teens and 829 parents of teens.

I would say there are many obvious benefits for younger children also .. besides the health benefits for the adults too.

Read the entire article.
Other benefits of family dinners.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fallen Leaves Can Be Helpful

Shredded fall leaves are a wonderful inexpensive option in regions where decidious trees release bushels of the mulching material each autumn.

They're an attractive, practical mulch. Your lawn mower is the perfect tool for chopping fall leaves. Once they are chopped, apply a thick layer as mulch over your flower beds.

The Frugal Gardener - page 140

Editor's Note: We do this every year and it works great it also decomposes and improves the soil too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Changing Eyelid Color

My question is, I have eye shadow, my eyelids are very dark and I wanted to know is there something I could safely use on my eyelids since the skin is very delicate around the eyes to help even up the skin tone?

Post Your Answer or Read the Ideas.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Distinctions of Electric/LP/Natural Gas Explained

One of the problems with LP is that it's a derivative of oil, so that makes its cost tied to the cost of a barrel of oil, and that's not good.

Electricity is normally generated by coal, nuclear, hydro and natural gas. That's what makes the price more stable. These are all things we have in the U.S.

If you can, get natural gas instead of propane. It's price goes up and down, but it isn't nearly as expensive as LP, and no one has to refill you each year.

The other thing to do is talk with people that have all electric service and those with both electric and propane service and see what their bills have been over the past year or so. Also note what kind of appliances they have and who their service provider is.

Electricity has always been a good value, but heating is probably the least efficient use of electricity. Electric base board heating is probably a big energy hog and not very efficient. Forced air electric heat is probably more efficient, but not as efficient as natural gas.

After you've made a good survey, then go with what the data is telling you.

Also, before you buy a house, make certain it is very well insulated. No matter how efficient your energy system is, you'll be throwing money out the window and through the attic if you don't have lots of insulation.

Clair Schwan

Visit Clair's Frugal Living Website.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Natural Flea Control

I used to buy Frontline for my dogs but I never liked using chemicals on them; then I heard about garlic and brewers yeast and decided to give it a try.

I bought the brewers yeast with garlic that also had vitamins and nutrients and it worked fantastic.

I have 4 American Eskimos and there is not a flea to be found, their fur has never been softer or shinier. They have more energy and all in all I have noticed a big change in them for the better.

Only problem is you need to start it before "flea season" and don't stop. I ran out and didn't start again for a week and they started scratching and it took another 3 weeks to get flea free again.

I use the tablets and just mix them, whole in their food. My youngest two love them.

Content Submitted by Rylee on The Frugal Life Forums.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Frugal Lending

by Janet Kinosian

Want to bankroll a small business overseas? At Kiva (www.kiva.org) it takes only a $25 microloan to finance the venture of your choice, be it a seamstress in the Dominican Republic or a baker In Afghanistan. Launched three years ago by Matt and Jessica Flannery, Kiva as of August had attracted more than 300,000 investors, who have fronted interest-free loans of about $38.5 million. The payback rate is above 98 percent, with most loans repaid within one year. And then you can lend the same $25 again!

Source: AARP October-November 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Frugal Workouts

by Susan Crandell

FEELING the pinch of a sagging economy? Then you're probably taking a hard look at monthly expenses, such as gym fees. But you don't have to give up exercise completely. Fitness can be low-cost, even free.

SAVE ON DUES

Look for a no-frills gym
Planet Fitness (www.planetfitness.com) has cardio and weight-training equipment but no classes. The fee: as little as $99 a year.

Ask for a discount-and keep asking
Most International Health, Racquet and Sports club Association (IHRSA) clubs offer price reductions several times each year. You may also be eligible for group discounts through your work, school, or association memberships, so be sure to ask.

Seek low-cost classes
Great sources for affordable exercise groups: the YMCA (www.ymca.net). which has reduced rates for those who qualify; a community center or house of worship; or your public pool.

WORK OUT AT HOME

Repurpose your bicycle
For cut-rate cardio, put your bike's rear wheel on a training stand and create a stationary bike. Recently on eBay, a used stand went for $43.

Garden, rake, or mow the lawn
A handy activity calculator at www.aarpfitness.com gives the calorie burn for a number of everyday tasks. If you're raking or digging, remember to switch sides to get an even workout.

Barter for training sessions
Have a friend who's a personal trainer? Think about what you can offer in exchange for working out together: anything from building a bookcase to catering a meal to doing your trainer's taxes.

Get deals on equipment
Troll Craigslist or the classifieds for bargains. Elastic bands add resistance without subtracting dough: they're less than $15 new.

Form a workout club
Get together with two friends and work out to a DVD If you each buy one, you'll have three different workouts to rotate.

Scale some steps
Miss the StairMaster at your old gym? Make like Rocky and climb real steps-at a normal pace, you'll burn about 400 calories an hour.

Walk and talk
While you may not walk quite as fast with a friend as you would by yourself, you're likely to walk farther.

Catch a class on TV
Some popular, frequently broadcast exercise shows: Sit and Be Fit, Wai Lana Yoga, and Classical Stretch: The Esmonde Technique. See www.locatetv.com for schedules in your area.

Source: AARP Magazine - November-December 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Frugal Party Giving

Even the most dazzling events are showing less glitter in these cost_conscious times, says Washington D.C., caterer Bill Holman, who has a few tips for prudent party-givers:

• For centerpieces, create a garden of potted herbs or arrange apples, lemons and other fruits into topiary trees.

• At weddings, instead of the popular bubbly, add wine or vodka to a sparkling soda with strawberries or blueberries.

• Replace lavish bouquets with a single-longstemmed flower.

• And skip the extra dessert: Let them eat cake!

Read more from the AARP Bulletin

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What Documents Should I Shred?

Shred junk mail and old papers that include your birth date, account numbers, signature, passwords. Social Security and PIN numbers - but don't shred your Social Security card.

Destroy deposit slips and credit card receipts right after you get your monthly statement. Shred used airline tickets, old medical bills, pre-approved credit card applications, expired ID's such as driver's licenses and passports and canceled checks you don't need for tax purposes. Read the entire article at AARP.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Half Dozen Uses for Empty Egg Cartons

From FrugalDad.com

When you think about it, eggs themselves are a pretty frugal food. They are just about the cheapest form of natural protein available, and are the primary ingredient in nearly every made-from-scratch recipe. We go through a lot of eggs in our household–boiled eggs, scrambled eggs for breakfast (and occasionally, dinner), deviled eggs, etc.

Instead of tossing the empty cartons I began hunting different ways we could reuse them.

Use an empty egg carton to ship breakables. If you are selling on eBay, egg cartons are a great thing to keep around as they offer protection to small, breakable items. If the item is especially small, and you don’t want to pay extra for shipping a rectangular container

Read more ideas in the article.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How to Prepay Your Mortgage

Over the course of a 30-year mortgage, you may end up paying more than twice the amount of your principal. The rest goes towards paying interest. That interest is money in the bank's pocket, not in your bank account.

Prepaying your mortgage is paying extra principal, especially during the early years of your loan, meaning that your house will be paid off that much sooner, and you will pay less total interest over the life of the loan. It could put you that much closer to retirement. Read the entire article.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Recession-Proofing Your Household

Most economists agree we have not in fact suffered a recession, but for the rest of us the pinch is undeniable. There are plenty of tips out there for ways to save money in tough times. Since those are so well-covered, I decided to put together a short list of unique strategies to recession-proof your household–just in case.

Stockpile non-perishables using coupons from eBay. I’m surprised at the number of mega coupon clippers who still don’t know that many clipping services make their “products” available on eBay. That’s right–you can buy coupons on eBay, often times in lots of 10 or more for just a dollar or two. If you frequently go through a product with a long shelf-life, look on eBay for

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is a Freezer Worth the Money?

BeingFrugal.net has a post that asks these questions with 59 responses to date. If you're considering a freezer for your house, you may want answers to these questions also:

Will a freezer save me money in the long run? Is it better to buy new or used? Is a chest freezer better or an upright freezer? And what size freezer do I need? Any insight you could offer would be great! Do you have a freezer? Did you buy it new or used? If you had to buy a new freezer, would you get the same thing? I want to know all about freezers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

No-Cost and Low-Cost Books

A friend recently gave me a stack of books in excellent condition. The gift — a novel and two memoirs — came with a request. I was told to read the books and give them away. The books, our friend said, could also be "released" at a coffee shop, a public bench or some other location.

The books were gifts through the Bookcrossing.com program, an international program designed to promote the free circulation of books. It is just one of several free or low-cost reading programs. From online vendors to standard bookstores, there are many affordable ways to build

Read the entire article.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where To Sell Your Stuff For Most Cash

Check out Frugal Living at About.com for the best places to sell items for cash. Books, Clothes, Furniture, Antiques and Collectibles, Sports Equipment, Electronics, CDs/DVDs/Video Games, Housewares, Appliances, Jewelry, and Musical Instruments. Be sure to check out the other articles with ways to make money. Frugal Living About.com.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Uses For Plastic Newspaper Bags

From Frugal Living About.com

Plastic grocery bags can be used for all sorts of things, but what about those plastic sleeves that your newspaper comes in? Are they good for anything?

Indeed they are:

1. Pooper Scooper Bags
Newspaper sleeves are the perfect tool for cleaning up doggie droppings. Just pull a sleeve over your hand; use it to pick up the droppings; then, grab the bag at it's opening; pull it back over your hand; and toss the whole thing.

2. Travel Bags
Protect the contents of your suitcase from shampoo and lotion spills by sliding the bottles into plastic newspaper sleeves, and tying the bags shut. Do the same with shoes, to protect your clothes from dirty soles.

3. Yard Sale Bags
Have small things to sell at your next yard sale? Place them in newspaper sleeves, and you won't have to spend money on plastic, zipper bags.

4. Work Gloves
Slide your hands into two newspaper sleeves, and you have instant work gloves.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finding Free Entertainment and Free Classes

Public education takes on new meaning at many area stores and community centers. From decorative painting to dance instruction, there are many free classes and events in our neighborhoods. What's more, public libraries offer free fitness, cultural and literary classes at neighborhood branches.

Every month, Whole Foods Market, a national chain, provides free classes on ...

Read the entire article.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Economic Meltdown Survival Guide

Banks are closing or being taken over by the U.S. government, brokerages are getting massive multi-billion loans, insurers are going belly-up and the Dow Jones has been on quite a roller coaster ride lately. Images of soup kitchens, massive unemployment and doom and gloom come to mind as some wonder aloud if the U.S. is headed for another Great Depression.

Even so, some people aren't worried. They aren't even nervous. I happen to be one of those people. If you took steps a year ago, or even six months ago, to get your financial house in order, you'll weather the storm just fine. You could even start sorting out your finances now, and you'll still be fine. It just takes calm, cool reasoning...and a game plan. With that in mind, Savvy Frugality presents the Economic Meltown Survival Guide.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Basement Smell Stinks Whole House

Please help me. My house stinks so badly. It is from my basement. I have added water to my drain, and it still stinks really badly. I have been burning candles to cover the smell up. I need to get rid of the smell. Is this harmful to my family? Please let me know. Read other responses and leave your own.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Make Your Own Toilet Bowl Cleaner

From Planet Green.

Have you ever thought about making your own toilet bowl cleaner? I think a lot of us believe that we have to have strong chemicals to clean dirty items like toilet bowls. That's simply not true. You can make a great cleaner for your toilet bowl at home and with natural ingredients.

Check out this toilet bowl cleaner recipe that worked for me:

Combine 2 tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of your favorite scent (lemon always works for me). Throw this into your toilet and scrub away! It always gets my toilet clean.

By making your own home cleaners, not only are you saving on our planet's resources and reducing the toxic chemicals in your immediate environment, but you're saving money, too! Read more about detoxing your bathroom.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Save Energy: Laundry

Your dryer checks in at number two (#2) on the list of household energy hogs (right after your fridge), according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and uses more than you might think.

By cutting the dryer out of the equation and using the ample solar energy that falls to the earth every day, you can save some bucks, and prolong the life of your clothes, too. Get the full scoop in How to Go Green: Laundry.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Disney Free 2009 Admission On Your Birthday

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to pass this along. Disney World and Disney Land are giving you free admission on your birthday for their 2009 promo! I verified it through the Disney website!

Here is the link.

Submitted by Pam on The Frugal Life Forum

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mirror Stuck On Wall

Hi, I have a huge mirror stuck on the wall - with I don't know what - as there are no visible screws etc. Now this has developed a crack on one side and the crack line is growing slowly. Can someone suggest anything I can do to avoid the whole thing being cracked over a period of time? Post your answer or read the ideas.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Switching Children To Healthy Lunches

Getting your child to eat right doesn't have to be such a losing battle, however. Experts say parents, by working with their children, planning ahead and being creative, can get their kids to eat and enjoy healthy lunches.

"You can't hit the person over the head with changes right off the bat," says Tosca Reno, author of the new book The Eat-Clean Diet for Family & Kids. "You've got to begin slowly. But kids are smart. Once they see how good they feel, they'll want more."

If your child seems to have an aversion to all things healthy, you're not alone. There's no shortage of statistics showing just how much children in the U.S. struggle when it comes to eating right, as well as getting enough physical activity. Read the entire article.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

DYI Home-Built Solar Panels

When Mike Davis moved to Arizona to get away from the light pollution so he could enjoy his hobby of astronomy, he didn't have any way to connect to electricity. The wind power worked most of the time, but generally not when he needed it.

He used common tools and inexpensive and easy to acquire materials to produce a solar panel that rivals commercial panels in power production, but completely blows them away in price. Read the entire article for step-by-step instructions.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Homemade Heat Wrap

Fill a men's white cotton sock with two cups of white rice. Tie a knot in the top. Place in microwave for one minute. You now have made a flexible heat wrap. After several uses it will smell like popcorn...time to wash the sock and make a new one. I have also used smaller white cotton sock to make a heat wrap for children..heat for only 30 seconds. Good for ear aches, tummy aches etc. Decorate with magic marker.......they love them.

Submitted by teatime44 at The Frugal Life Forum
"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28