frugality http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/193/all en-US Best Money Tips: Convince Your Partner That Frugality Is the Way to Go http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-convince-your-partner-that-frugality-is-the-way-to-go <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-convince-your-partner-that-frugality-is-the-way-to-go" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-discussion-dv342134b-small.jpg" alt="couple discussion" title="couple discussion" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on convincing your partner that frugality is the way to go, things you're spending too much money on, and saving at Ikea.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://andthenwesaved.com/convince-partner-frugal-living/">13 Ways to Convince Your Partner That Frugality Is the Way to Go</a> &mdash; To convince your partner that frugality is the way to go, establish a plan for short term goals. [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="http://www.smartasset.com/blog/money-saving-tip/6-things-youre-probably-spending-too-much-money-on/">6 Things You're Probably Spending Too Much Money On</a> &mdash; Chances are you are spending too much on cable tv and bottled water. [SmartAsset]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Ikea-35593579">11 Secrets to Saving Big Bucks at Ikea</a> &mdash; If you want to save big bucks at Ikea, never pay for extra parts. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.survivingthestores.com/whats-on-sale-in-september.html">What's On Sale In September?</a> &mdash; Expect to see good deals on corn and grapes in September! [Surviving the Stores]</p> <p><a href="http://www.money-guy.com/2014/08/how-much-insurance-do-i-need/">How Much Insurance Do I Need?</a> &mdash; Did you know the standard insurance coverage amount is ten times your income? [The Money-Guy Show]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.empowereddollar.com/start-a-conversation/reset-button/">Need a Reset Button on Life? Here You Go</a> &mdash; When was the last time you hit the reset button on your life? [The Empowered Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/top-10-mobile-apps/">My Top 10 Favorite Apps on My Phone (and Why I Love 'em So Much)</a> &mdash; Evernote can help you stay organized and Lift can help you develop positive habits. [Smart Passive Income]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.sparefoot.com/6749-tips-for-moving-and-storing-electronics/">6 Tips for Moving and Storing Your Electronics</a> &mdash; Labeling everything can make moving and storing your electronics easier. [The SpareFoot Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.modestmoney.com/create-popular-blog-makes-money/">How to Create a Popular Blog That Makes Money</a> &mdash; When creating a blog, keep the design simple and clean and write about a trending topic. [Modest Money]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-steps-to-teaching-at-home-successfully">10 Steps to Teaching at Home Successfully</a> &mdash; To teach at home successfully, keep good records and communicate with your child. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-convince-your-partner-that-frugality-is-the-way-to-go" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Convince Your Partner That Frugality Is the Way to Go" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips convince frugal frugality partner Thu, 04 Sep 2014 19:00:08 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1203135 at http://www.wisebread.com The Manly Guide to Saving Money http://www.wisebread.com/the-manly-guide-to-saving-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-manly-guide-to-saving-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pushups-479139811-small.jpg" alt="pushups" title="pushups" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Gentlemen, it is well past time to reclaim the habits and skills that set us apart and define who we are. Put aside the smartphone and the take hold of your tool bag &mdash; there's work to do! (And ladies, feel free to ignore the bluster and pick up some tools, too. Anybody can do this stuff.) (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money?ref=seealso">10 Easy to Learn Skills That Will Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2>Fix Your Own Car</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/TgtUDTFxOkQ" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Automobile repairs can be incredibly costly when you factor in parts and labor. Considering that many of us don't have a clue when looking under the hood, DIY repairs are not always practical or safe. However, there are a number of things that you can do to ensure your car is running optimally.</p> <p>By learning how to perform basic maintenance like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgtUDTFxOkQ">changing your oil</a>, <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5830681/change-your-cars-air-filter">replacing the air filter</a>, and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3x6PxFYTK8">rotating your tires</a>, you can expect benefits like better gas mileage, increased engine life, reduced emissions, and an overall smoother ride.</p> <h2>Maintain Your Body</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ADxCldDwZbA" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Between drumming up the motivation to drag yourself to the gym, the time it takes to get there, and the cost of membership, pumping iron or taking a spin class adds up to quite a bit of cash.</p> <p>The basic equipment necessary to <a href="http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/power-tools-home-gym">build a versatile home gymnasium</a> is fairly inexpensive and very effective. Depending on your fitness goals, you may be able to get the body you want by simply <a href="http://greatist.com/fitness/50-bodyweight-exercises-you-can-do-anywhere">using your own bodyweight</a>.</p> <p>Now that you have the equipment needed to sculpt your dream physique, heed the advice of some personal trainers that are happy to make house calls for the low, low price of free. YouTube is the home of professional <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/ScottHermanFitness">bodybuilders</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/FreeYogaVideos">yoga trainers</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/blogilates">pilates instructors</a>, and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/ToneItUpcom">fitness gurus</a>, all of whom want to help you get in the best shape of your life.</p> <h2>Extend the Life of Your Razor</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/m4yaQqlvwQQ" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Everyone knows that disposable razor cartridges are expensive but necessary&hellip; right? By adopting some simple habits, you can extend the life of your cartridge razor exponentially. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-a-classic-wet-shave?ref=seealso">Save Money With a Classic Wet Shave</a>)</p> <p>First, ensure that your blades are dry. Water corrodes and causes imperfections in the blades, which dulls them. Next, <a href="http://gizmodo.com/the-easy-trick-to-drastically-increase-the-life-of-your-1574690193">hone your blades</a> to smooth out the imperfections that develop over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-shaving-with-these-razor-tricks?ref=seealso">Save Money on Shaving With These Razor Tricks</a>)</p> <p>Better yet, ditch your multi-blade razor altogether and <a href="http://sharpologist.com/2012/12/how-to-shave-with-a-straight-razor.html">spring for a quality straight razor</a>. Not only is it infinitely cooler, but also allows a closer shave. Granted, practice is necessary to master the craft and shaving will take a little more time and concentration, but you'll save a small fortune by avoiding disposable cartridges.</p> <p>If scraping something against your face that has been used as murder weapon in movies like &quot;The Godfather&quot; and &quot;Gangs of New York&quot; isn't appealing, consider an old-timey <a href="http://www.razorsbarbershop.com/shave-like-a-grownup/">safety razor</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-over-100-a-year-by-shaving-with-a-cutthroat-razor?ref=seealso">Shave With a 100 Year Old Cutthroat Razor and Save</a>)</p> <p>And in case you were wondering, ladies, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4WkiYgbYVQ">straight razors aren't just for men</a>.</p> <h2>Cut Your Own Hair</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FCkysZQg3hE" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Unless you plan to give yourself a buzz cut, cutting your own hair can seem like an arduous task for someone without formal training. The risk of botching the job and having to sport it in public may be a deterrent for some, but if you can muster the courage to start snipping, you'll find that it is actually quite easy to give yourself a trim.</p> <p>There are numerous how-to videos on YouTube for both <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCkysZQg3hE">men</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQrgRn_dsw4">women</a>, and the tutorials range from the very simple to salon-level complexity. With a little determination and patience, you could add weeks to your professional cut.</p> <h2>Ride a Bicycle</h2> <p><h2ride your="" h2=""> </h2ride></p> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ekq_uQKWijE" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>We all know that the more you drive your car, the more its value plummets. Unfortunately for most, owning a vehicle is a necessary evil. For those fortunate enough to live in close proximity to their place of employment and amenities, foregoing a car for a bicycle not only saves an incredible sum of money, but has numerous health and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/dec/12/cycle-like-danes-cut-emissions">environmental</a> benefits.</p> <p>You get all that without giving up your independence to slog it on public transport? Cycling is a no-brainer.</p> <p>These are just some of the many ways you can recover your autonomy and save in the process. As founding father Benjamin Franklin used to say, &quot;An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.&quot;</p> <p><em>How have you reclaimed your independence? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-manly-guide-to-saving-money" class="sharethis-link" title="The Manly Guide to Saving Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ryan-lynch">Ryan Lynch</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Lifestyle DIY frugality saving Wed, 18 Jun 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Ryan Lynch 1144615 at http://www.wisebread.com The Surprisingly Frugal Lifestyles of 12 Famous Superheroes http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-frugal-lifestyles-of-12-famous-superheroes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-surprisingly-frugal-lifestyles-of-12-famous-superheroes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/flashsuperhero.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are not just superheroes&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;they are major billionaires.</span></p> <p>They don't need Verizon or AT&amp;T to make phone calls. Heck, they can afford to launch their own satellite networks. Can you bat-hear me now? Good! Batman and Iron Man are at the top of superhero food chain when it comes to financial well-being. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jack-bauer-never-buys-anything-how-tvs-frugalest-characters-get-by-with-less?ref=seealso">How TVs Frugalest Characters Get By With Less</a>)</p> <p>On the other hand, there are the other 99% of superheroes that are just like us. Trying to figure out what bill to pay first, how to afford a new car, or where to shop for cheaper groceries. Here are the 12 spendthrifty-est superheroes, in alphabetical order.</p> <h2>1. Cloak and Dagger</h2> <p>If you are a child of the 80's, then you probably remember these popular Marvel characters. <a href="http://marvel.wikia.com/Cloak_and_Dagger">Cloak and Dagger</a> often hang out with Spider-Man (more on him later).</p> <p>Cloak and Dagger are so poor that they fully depend on friends and priests for shelter and money. They never know where they will sleep next because they find shelter at the nearest church. This has forced Cloak and Dagger to become really good at budgeting and making the very best of whatever they can get their hands on. Luckily for this crime-fighting duo, they don't need to worry about groceries at all, as they don't need to eat to survive. Bye, bye Safeway!</p> <h2>2. Flash</h2> <p>Being the fastest man alive in the DC Comics universe comes with an incredible perk &mdash; he is able to be in virtually two places at once.</p> <p>This comes very useful to <a href="http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Flash_(Barry_Allen)">Flash</a> because he has to live off a policeman's salary. Despite being one of the top A-listers of DC Comics, he needs to worry about keeping his blue-collar job. Flash is the king of multitasking and can do house chores, buy groceries, fight crime, and complete all his job duties on the same day, almost all at once! Since he runs all around the world, he knows where to buy anything at the best possible price. But the ultimate reason why Flash is one of the spendthrifty-est superheroes is that he doesn't own a car and doesn't spend a cent on gas.</p> <h2>3. Goku</h2> <p>No matter that he can <a href="http://dragonball.wikia.com/wiki/Kamehameha">kame-hame-ha</a> the moon and teletransport to outer space, Goku, of <a href="http://www.dragonballz.com/">Dragon Ball Z</a>, is definitely one of the most spendthrifty superheroes.</p> <p>Goku and his wife, Chi-chi, are humble radish farmers, which means that they mostly depend on their hard labor to make a living. Fortunately for them, they live in area blessed with enormous fishes and birds, so they never go hungry. On top of that, Goku wears the same orange uniform and black boots 90% of the time, and mostly is just happy to eat noodles and rice. Imagine how much money and time he saves every day. While it is true that he made good money from winning several fighting tournaments over the years, he saved most of it for the martial arts training and higher education tuition of his son, Gohan.</p> <h2>4. Hulk</h2> <p>Hulk SMASH! living expense problem.</p> <p>By hiding from the government most of his life, Bruce Banner (<a href="http://marvel.com/comics/characters/1009351/hulk">Hulk</a>'s alter ego) has subsisted as a homeless wanderer. With whatever he can fit in a backpack, Bruce can survive for several months away from civilization. And when he turns into the green goliath, he can live like a wild beast in even the scorching deserts of the American Southwest. No need to go get groceries when Hulk can hunt wild game. This Marvel super hero doesn't need to worry about several bills like the rest of us. And since he is always hiding from the government, the last thing he wants to do is to leave a credit card trail. It's all cash for Bruce, which really helps him monitor his spending.</p> <h2>5. Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern)</h2> <p>There are several men that have worn the powerful emerald green from DC Comics, but none have been as budget conscious as Kyle Rayner.</p> <p>Despite his gifted abilities, the Los Angeles-based freelance artist often struggles to find steady income. Unlike the Flash, <a href="http://www.dccomics.com/characters/green-lantern">Green Lantern</a> has a hard time keeping a job. During his first years as a member of the Justice League, our hero even found himself once unable to afford a latte at Starbucks. Still, through hard work, dedication and the ability to stretch every dollar as much as he can, he is able to meet the rent of his modest apartment, buy flowers for his girlfriend, and refrain from asking for a bat-loan.</p> <h2>6. Ryu</h2> <p>If Bruce Banner and <a href="http://streetfighter.wikia.com/wiki/Ryu">Ryu</a> were to ever meet, they would probably argue about who can survive the longest in the wild.</p> <p>With just a gym bag, pair of sparring gloves, red bandana, and white uniform, Ryu, of the Street Fighter video games, travels the world, spending great lengths of time in remote areas. This guy is so cheap that he doesn't even wear shoes. Any prize money that he receives, he milks as much as possible to travel to his next tournament destination. He would probably even turn down Chun-Li if she ever asked him out on a date, just to avoid having to pay the restaurant bill.</p> <h2>7. Silver Surfer</h2> <p>Marvel's <a href="http://marvel.com/universe/Silver_Surfer">Silver Surfer</a> takes Ryu's spending philosophy to the extreme. He has his board, and nothing else&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;not even clothes! Thanks to his life-maintaining cosmic energy, the Silver Surfer does not need to eat, breathe, or sleep. This grants him plenty of time to work and do whatever he pleases. The only downside to his lifestyle is that the poor fella doesn't have pockets. He should probably sit down with Ryu and Hulk and get some lessons on the benefits of a good bag.</span></p> <h2>8. Spawn</h2> <p>Poor <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spawn_(comics)">Spawn</a>! Even the Silver Surfer has a cool surfboard. Spawn, of Image Comics, just has a cape and some chains. He is so gloomy that he is satisfied with whatever scraps people throw at him. At least Cloak and Dagger have some ambition; Spawn, on the other hand, just hangs out in a dank alley. Despite all the crazy cyborgs, hellspawns, demons, and cyborgs that show up in his alley, he still lives at the same place. This guy is quite spendthrifty but in a negative way &mdash; he doesn't even own a cardboard box. Come on Spawn, get some ambition!</p> <h2>9. Spider-Man</h2> <p>With all the money that Marvel makes from the <a href="http://marvel.com/universe/Spider-Man_(Peter_Parker)">Spider-Man</a> movies, you would hope that the execs give Peter Parker a bonus. But no, Peter is still living with his Aunt May, making just a few bucks with his freelance photo gig at The Daily Bugle, and having to sew his own Spidey costumes. Unlike Batman, this is a regular guy that dresses on a budget. It has been estimated that Peter's regular wardrobe costs him about $313, which is far cry from <a href="http://www.geeksofdoom.com/GoD/img/2012/07/2012-07-06-batman_spiderman_infographic.jpg">Bruce Wayne's $20,000 ensemble</a>. Plus, he mostly just eats whatever sandwich he can fix from stuff in Aunt May's fridge.</p> <h2>10. Superman</h2> <p>Talk about being super-frugal! The Man of Steel has zero overhead and doesn't spend money on <a href="http://mashable.com/2013/07/16/batman-price-infographic/">fancy gadgets like Batman</a>. He even built his lair in the north pole &mdash; low rent! If you ever wonder why <a href="http://www.dccomics.com/characters/superman">Superman</a> needs to save as much as he can, consider this: He has been around for so long that a five buck bonus was considered a cause for celebration among the Daily Planet's reporters. Lucky for him he doesn't need to spend too much to impress Lois Lane&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;just a night time fly-by during a full moon or cooking a steak to perfection with his heat vision.</span></p> <h2>11. Swamp Thing</h2> <p>Cloak and Dagger have Spider-Man as their buddy. Spawn has plenty of company. Poor <a href="http://www.dccomics.com/characters/swamp-thing">Swamp Thing</a>&hellip; has a swamp. This is one of the loneliest characters in the DC Comics universe. He has no friends and is happier to be around swamp plants and toads. He doesn't pay rent on an apartment, wear a fancy wardrobe, own a car, nor even <a href="http://mashable.com/2013/04/23/cost-to-be-iron-man-3/">expensive armor like Iron Man</a> (that ensemble is valued at $10 Billion!). Most of the time he just hangs out at his swamp, only leaving when hero duty calls. He is very eco-conscious and makes a buck every now then as <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80RtuD2yxvc">spokesperson for Greenpeace</a>, which he nevertheless donates to environmental organizations.</p> <h2>12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles</h2> <p>Last but not least, here are the spendthrifty-est superheroes of them all &mdash; the <a href="http://www.nick.com/shows/ninja-turtles/">Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles</a>. These heroes in a hard shell spend no money on rent and eat nothing but pizza. The TMNT gang is capable of living on a budget without isolating themselves from the outside world. Here are a few other ways they distinguish themselves as superheroes of frugality:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Unlike Spawn and Swamp Thing, they have plenty of friends, such as Casey Jones and April O'Neil.</p> </li> <li> <p>Unlike Superman and Spider-Man, they don't need to have a side-gig &mdash; their crime-fighting is their only full-time job.</p> </li> <li> <p>Like Ryu and Kyle Rayner, they know how to stretch a buck.</p> </li> <li> <p>Donatello can fix everything from TV's to skateboards to cars.</p> </li> <li> <p>Splinter homeschools them so they have zero student debt.</p> </li> <li> <p>They don't splurge on fancy wardrobes &mdash; just bandanas, belts, and the occasional trenchcoat.</p> </li> </ul> <p><em>Who is your favorite spendthrifty superhero &mdash; and why? Be a hero and share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-frugal-lifestyles-of-12-famous-superheroes" class="sharethis-link" title="The Surprisingly Frugal Lifestyles of 12 Famous Superheroes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment frugality super frugal heroes superheroes Fri, 06 Jun 2014 15:00:32 +0000 Damian Davila 1141855 at http://www.wisebread.com Jack Bauer Never Buys Anything — How TVs Frugalest Characters Get by With Less http://www.wisebread.com/jack-bauer-never-buys-anything-how-tvs-frugalest-characters-get-by-with-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jack-bauer-never-buys-anything-how-tvs-frugalest-characters-get-by-with-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/watching-tv-460592517-small.jpg" alt="watching tv" title="watching tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving is not a common trait among television characters. It's more common to see people spending money on frivolous goods than using a coupon. But there are a number of television characters that appear to having the saving money thing down pat. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-life-and-money-lessons-from-will-ferrell-movies?ref=seealso">8 Surprising Life and Finance Lessons From Will Ferrell</a>)</p> <p>Here's a look at nine television characters who wave their thrifty flag proudly.</p> <h2>1. Jack Bauer (&quot;24&quot;)</h2> <p>You can't live off the grid for four years without knowing how to stretch a dollar. In many ways, he's living the dream. No mortgage, no car payments, no credit cards. There's a lot that we don't know about how Jack's been getting by, but we do know he wears the same outfit everyday and always seems to be able to get a ride to wherever he needs to go. We also never see him eat or drink, so he's probably saving money in that area.</p> <p>Granted, Jack is probably a bit of a moocher, and there are times when he's just taken stuff through force when he could have just asked nicely. But that's hardly the worst of his crimes.</p> <h2>2. Scooby-Doo and the Gang</h2> <p>The conventional advice on car ownership is to drive your vehicle until it dies, and this group has certainly squeezed a lot of mileage out of the old Mystery Machine. Scooby appears to be content with a diet of low-cost Scooby snacks, while everyone else is fine eating at whatever side-of-the-road diner they find. Their choices of lodging are often a bit sketchy, but surely offer low nightly rates. Like Jack Bauer, this crew is happy wearing the same clothing every day.</p> <h2>3. Max Black and Caroline Channing (&quot;Two Broke Girls&quot;)</h2> <p>This is a show about two poor roommates working to try and save enough money ($250,000, initially) to open a cupcake shop. The show has several good financial lessons, chiefly the idea of having a specific financial goal and working towards it.</p> <p>Also, there are some good messages about the value of hard work and taking advantage of opportunities. In last year's season finale, the duo agreed to clean a nasty, once-hidden section of the diner to make some extra money. After they began work, they discovered a window that would eventually serve as the opening to their new shop.</p> <h2>4. Walter White (&quot;Breaking Bad&quot;)</h2> <p>The man amassed tens of millions of dollars, but he was forced to maintain the guise of the out-of-work schoolteacher. He lived in a humble Albuquerque tract home and drove a Pontiac Aztec for much of the show's run. His clothes may have been straight out of an old Sears catalog. He even saved money on haircuts by shaving his head, even when he wasn't getting chemo treatments.</p> <h2>5. Ben Matlock (&quot;Matlock&quot;)</h2> <p>Forget $5,000 suits. The powder blue special served this successful country lawyer just fine. Matlock has a known fondness for hot dogs, not prime rib. In a crossover episode with &quot;Diagnosis Murder,&quot; it is explained that Matlock's thriftiness may stem from the sting of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090481/trivia">a bad investment in eight-track tapes</a>.</p> <h2>6. George Constanza (&quot;Seinfeld&quot;)</h2> <p>This is a man whose desire to save a buck led to him selecting cheap envelopes (for wedding invitations!) with toxic glue that eventually killed his fiancee. In another episode, George insists on seeking out a lower price for a massage chair to be given to a friend.</p> <p>&quot;I'll sniff out a deal,&quot; he says. &quot;I have a sixth sense.&quot;</p> <p>To which Jerry replies: &quot;Cheapness&hellip; is not a sense.&quot;</p> <p>We agree. It's a way of life.</p> <h2>7. Danny Tanner (&quot;Full House&quot;)</h2> <p>He's a single dad taking care of three daughters living in a house in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the country. Oh, and he has to help support his freeloading best friend and brother-in-law. You can hear the bemused exasperation in his voice during this exchange with his eldest daughter, D.J.:</p> <p>D.J.: &quot;We hit the big sale at the Fashion Mart. Everything is half off.&quot;</p> <p>Danny: &quot;Of course that doesn't save me any money 'cause you'll just buy twice as much stuff, right?&quot;</p> <p>D.J.: &quot;I like your attitude.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Ron Swanson (&quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;)</h2> <p>I've written about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-lessons-from-parks-and-recreation">the greatness of Ron Swanson</a> frequently in this space. He knows the value of making things himself, whether it be a child's crib or a wedding ring. He appears to only spend money on good breakfasts, steaks, and scotch. His favorite store is a place called &quot;Food N' Stuff,&quot; and he advocates for only the cheapest haircuts (high and tight, buzz cut, or crew cut).</p> <p>Swanson talks a lot about slashing government spending in Pawnee, Indiana, and he no-doubt practices cost-cutting in his personal life, too. Channel your inner Swanson, and you'll likely find yourself on a more stable financial path.</p> <h2>9. Adam Braverman (&quot;Parenthood&quot;)</h2> <p>He and his family live in a sizable house in Berkeley, CA. He has a special needs son and a wife who's battled cancer. Oh, and his daughter goes to Cornell. All this, and we're to believe that he's getting by on whatever money he brings in from running a recording studio with his brother. It's entirely possible that the Bravermans are in debt up to their eyeballs and on the verge of bankruptcy. But I choose to believe they are getting by because Adam has found some ways to save money along the way.</p> <p>When he and brother Crosby open the recording studio, it is Adam who crunches the numbers to see if it can work. And when Crosby comes to him seeking money to remediate mold in his house, Adam flatly says no. (A more fiscally irresponsible person would have caved to the pressure of helping out a family member.) Perhaps Adam learned a thing or two from his gruff father, Zeke, who's always insisted on doing his own car and home repairs.</p> <p><em>Any frugal TV characters I've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jack-bauer-never-buys-anything-how-tvs-frugalest-characters-get-by-with-less" class="sharethis-link" title="Jack Bauer Never Buys Anything — How TVs Frugalest Characters Get by With Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment frugality television thrift Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:00:52 +0000 Tim Lemke 1141163 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Ways to Stay on Budget — Even With Your Spendy Friends http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-stay-on-budget-even-with-your-spendy-friends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ways-to-stay-on-budget-even-with-your-spendy-friends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-80375663.jpg" alt="friends" title="friends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all love spending time with our friends. But if you find yourself dipping deeper into your pockets than you'd like for get togethers, you might wonder how to cope. I, too, am on tight entertainment funds. In fact, now that I'm a full-fledged adult, I thought it would be prudent to put myself back on an allowance to stay in check. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso">Build Your First Budget in 5 Steps</a>)</p> <p>Thing is, it can feel awkward or even embarrassing when I'm asked to take part in an activity I can't afford or don't want to find room for in my budget. If you find yourself in a similar boat, consider these tips for how to diffuse the situation.</p> <h2>1. Try Honesty</h2> <p>First are foremost, I find it's best to be upfront to avoid uncomfortable situations in the future. If you are close enough with your buddies, they should understand why you want to scrimp and save. Often, you may even discover that they &mdash; too &mdash; would rather find less expensive things to do.</p> <h2>2. Suggest Alternatives</h2> <p>If you don't feel honesty is the best policy, you could also take control by offering up some suggestions within your price range. Some ideas:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-fun-nights-out-for-5-or-less">15 Fun Nights Out for $5 Or Less</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">47 Cheap, Fun Things To Do This Weekend</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-fun-things-to-do-in-your-city">The Ultimate $5 Fun List</a></li> </ul> <p>You truly can have fun on a dime (or for no money at all).</p> <h2>3. Make Yourself Responsible</h2> <p>There's little reason to decline invitations to go shopping or out to other activities that don't involve a cover or ticket charge. Instead, make yourself the responsible party for keeping your dollars in your pocket. Don't bring your credit card, &quot;forget&quot; cash, or just try old fashioned restraint. You can still enjoy the time together without all the swag.</p> <h2>4. Open Your Home</h2> <p>One of the best ways my husband and I have found to save money going out is to invite people into our own home. Instead of going out for a pricey dinner, we ask friends to all bring a dish to share and enjoy a cheap potluck with bonus game night. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20?ref=seealso">Host a Dinner Party for Under $20</a>)</p> <h2>5. Crunch the Numbers</h2> <p>Many people don't realize how the little things add up to something big. In this case, even going out to lunch three days a week could add up to $30 and a staggering $1,500 over the course of a year. Explain you'd rather pack your brown bag now and take that fun vacation later.</p> <h2>6. Blame Your Budget</h2> <p>Along with being honest comes telling friends you are indeed on a budget (shouldn't we all be?). If an invitation catches you at the wrong time socially or financially, you could always just explain that you've maxed out your entertainment funds for the week or month. By doing so, perhaps you'll start a productive conversation on personal finances and inspire your friend to try your saving ways! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-talk-to-friends-about-money?ref=seealso">Should You Talk to Friends About Money?</a>)</p> <h2>7. Share Positivity</h2> <p>You can even go a step beyond bringing up budget to sharing a recent success with paying off credit card bills or other debt through being frugal. Say something like &quot;You know, I can't go this weekend because I've been paying off X bill, and it feels so good to see my balance getting closer to $0!&quot; You might inspire a friend to do the same.</p> <h2>8. Make a Healthy Excuse</h2> <p>Rather than outright lie about another commitment as your excuse to not do something, come up with a healthy reason to skip out. Lies won't work in the long run anyway, and it's easy to get caught in your own game. Consider saying something like &quot;Well, I would love to &mdash; but I just have to get my run in that day. Would you join me?&quot; Or &quot;I've been too sedentary this week, would you like to take a walk instead?&quot;</p> <h2>9. Sell Quality Time</h2> <p>You can also be quite convincing by sharing the benefits of time spent doing nothing at all. Often, going to movies, concerts, loud restaurants, and other costly events mean there's little time to actually connect. Instead, suggest meeting over a warm cup of tea or glass of wine and having a nice, long chat to catch up.</p> <h2>10. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>If you know your pal likes to go to expensive concerts or games, why not get on some forward thinking? Ask your friend if he or she would like to attend one of these events with a date in the future. That way, you could save up your pennies slowly, but avoid that awkward spur-of-the-moment conversation entirely.</p> <h2>11. Set Schedules</h2> <p>For everyday invitations to lunches out, for example, take control by setting a specific day of the week or month to indulge. Remember, you can still treat yourself on occasion and still stay on point for your financial goals. If you have a friend who is routinely asking you to go out and splurge, go back to honesty.</p> <h2>12. Just Say &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>You don't necessarily have to give an excuse or reason for why you can't do something. A simple, but polite &quot;no&quot; should do well to decline an invitation. If you're pressed for details, you can always just say you're busy (saving money!). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot;</a>)</p> <h2>13. Play the Busy Card</h2> <p>However, if your &quot;busy&quot; ploy is falling flat, write up a to-do list and make it legitimate. The next time you're asked to do something out of your budget, say you're busy. Then go item by item on your list and get productive with your time. Can't go to that five star restaurant? Finish painting your bedroom. That weekend away too extravagant right now? Clean your house from top to bottom.</p> <h2>14. Reevaluate</h2> <p>If you're continually feeling the pressure to keep up with the Joneses, you might alleviate your stress by taking a step back. True friends should truly understand the value of your friendship versus flashy purchases or a fine restaurant bucket list.</p> <h2>15. Reciprocate</h2> <p>On the flip side, if you're in good standing with your budget and find yourself to be the one making all the invitations, be understanding. We all cycle through different periods in our lives and with our money and goals. Before you ask your buddies to do something extravagant, consider if there's a thrifty alternative that isn't going to exclude anyone in your circle.</p> <p><em>How do you tell friends you can't (or won't) spend money?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-stay-on-budget-even-with-your-spendy-friends" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Ways to Stay on Budget — Even With Your Spendy Friends" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living budgeting friends friends and money frugality Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:24:48 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1136585 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Strategies for Saving Year-Round http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-strategies-for-saving-year-round <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-strategies-for-saving-year-round" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008055700Small-1.jpg" alt="Strategies for Saving Year-Round" title="Strategies for Saving Year-Round" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on strategies for saving year-round, money management tips, and tips for traveling on a budget.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.walletpop.com/2011/07/12/5-strategies-for-saving-year-round/">5 Strategies for Saving Year-Round</a> &mdash; Save year-round by going for the package deals. [Walletpop]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thefinancialblogger.com/money-management-tips-you-wont-find-anywhere-else/">Money Management Tips You Won't Find Anywhere Else</a> &mdash; Manage your money successfully by automating all of your monthly payments. [The Financial Blogger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/5-tips-for-traveling-on-a-budget/">5 Tips For Traveling On A Budget</a> &mdash; If you want to travel on a budget, be sure to leave after lunch so you only have to worry about eating one meal on the road instead of two. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eedg45emjj/10-common-money-wasters-2">10 Common Money Wasters</a> &mdash; Don't make the mistake of wasting your money on an unused gym membership. [Forbes]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyliciousblog.com/2011/07/5-back-to-school-money-saving-tips.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FYXQz+%28Moneylicious%29">5 Back to School Money Saving Tips</a> &mdash; Save money on back to school supplies by taking inventory of what you already have and setting a budget. [Moneylicious]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://getcurrency.com/technology-toys/4-easy-ways-to-use-a-cell-phone-abroad">4 Easy Ways to Use a Cell Phone Abroad</a> &mdash; Use your cell phone when traveling abroad by buying or renting a SIM card. [Currency]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/what-should-we-eat-usda-replaces-food-pyramid-with-new-food-plate">What Should We Eat? USDA Replaces Food Pyramid With New &quot;Food Plate&quot;</a> &mdash; Fruits and veggies should make up half your dinner plate. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/5-simple-and-obvious-tips-for-better-communication.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LifeHack+%28lifehack.org%29">5 Simple And Obvious Tips For Better Communication</a> &mdash; Communicate better by knowing that listening is always more valuable than talking. [Stepcase Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/basics/07/find-credit-help.asp#axzz1S6Iao51E">How To Find A Credit Counselor</a> &mdash; Find a credit counselor by not letting the counselor come to you. You have to go to them. [Investopedia]</p> <p><a href="http://sourcesofinsight.com/2011/07/13/101-ways-to-motivate-yourself-and-others/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SourcesOfInsight+%28Sources+of+Insight%29">101 Ways to Motivate Yourself and Others</a> &mdash; Motivate yourself and others by conquering your fears. [Sources of Insight]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-strategies-for-saving-year-round" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Strategies for Saving Year-Round" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips frugality saving year-round Fri, 15 Jul 2011 10:00:17 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 622828 at http://www.wisebread.com Men: Why Frugal Is Sexy http://www.wisebread.com/men-why-frugal-is-sexy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/men-why-frugal-is-sexy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebreadsexyfrugal.jpg" alt="Dollar Bill" title="Dollar Bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Frugality has an image problem. If it were a celebrity, a PR firm would tell it to get a haircut, start working out, and stage a few photo ops with a super-model. Why should credit card debt have all the fun? After all, in a world that&rsquo;s conflated money with power and power with attractiveness, shouldn&rsquo;t the good money-managers and savers be veritable centerfolds?</p> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t take much knowledge or skill to accumulate the trappings of success with easy credit and unconscious spending. But it does take some discipline and a little financial McGyverism to navigate the choppy waters of manhood and money successfully.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t drive a nuclear-powered SUV, my cell phone doesn&rsquo;t do much more than make phone calls, my jeans are decidedly un-couture and yet, I feel pretty sexy. My fellow fellows, I assert that it&rsquo;s our frugality that makes us sexy. So man-up, stand tall, and let&rsquo;s explore five reasons to put a little muscle behind that coupon-clipping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/classy-dating-on-a-budget">Classy Dating on a Budget</a>)</p> <h3>1. You are a new pioneer</h3> <p>The world&rsquo;s gone a bit mad with advertising. It&rsquo;s everywhere and it&rsquo;s supported by harried, confused, exhausted shoppers armed with plastic and fueled by Starbucks. Any effort at restraint, regardless of how modest, is a revolutionary act. Saving money, reducing expenses, and becoming self-reliant takes nothing less than a pioneering spirit. Embrace this inner pioneer and own your financial identity.</p> <h3>2. You are the influencer &mdash; not the influenced</h3> <p>Advertisers and marketers depend on trends &mdash; it&rsquo;s what makes us feel bad about not having a TV that&rsquo;s as thin as a slice of bread or slightly self-conscious about that old phone that doesn&rsquo;t dial by the sheer power of thought. Fighting this subtle manipulation reclaims a little bit of our control &mdash; and control is sexy. When we are finally free of these influencing forces, we become the influencers.</p> <h3>3. You are free</h3> <p>Toys are great, but freedom&rsquo;s better. Living well with less, paying cash, enjoying life unencumbered by present debt and relatively immune to future temptation &mdash; these are foundations of freedom. What man doesn&rsquo;t want to be free? What man would willingly trade freedom for a lifetime of avoidable debt-servitude?</p> <h3>4. You have capital</h3> <p>You can seize opportunities where other men cannot by recognizing a good deal and having the resources to take advantage of it. What&rsquo;s sexier than bold action driven by deep knowledge? Living debt-free (or as close to it as we can get) funds other parts of our lives and allows us to capably explore and expand our future.</p> <h3>5. You are a teacher</h3> <p>The most powerful thing any of us will ever do is teach what we know to the next generation. Managing money, avoiding the pitfalls of consumer culture, saving for the future are lessons as critical as any we&rsquo;ll receive in life. The fruits of our successes and mistakes all help to inform our children &mdash; whether they choose to take our advice and live by our example is their own exercise in freedom.</p> <p>Of course none of these points are the sole province of men. In many cases, our just-as-sexy better-halves taught us most of what we know. Man or woman, when it comes to frugality, simple living, and making conscious choices about where our resources go &mdash; we&rsquo;re hot.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/men-why-frugal-is-sexy" class="sharethis-link" title="Men: Why Frugal Is Sexy" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle frugality Men and Money Mon, 04 Apr 2011 10:24:12 +0000 Kentin Waits 513978 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-changes-you-can-make-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-frugal-changes-you-can-make-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000000921643Smallc_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Frugal living does not have to involve drastic changes; a few simple everyday changes can go a long way. Here are 25 changes you can make today and start living a frugal life without taking frugality too far. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">The&nbsp;Line Between Frugal and Crazy</a>)</p> <h3>1. Reduce/Eliminate Daily Luxuries</h3> <p>Cut down on your daily Starbucks coffee and brown bag your lunch. Small <em>daily</em> luxuries can add up quickly and end up costing you a fortune. We are not talking about the occasional treats, but regular daily expenditures you can easily cut down without a dramatic impact on your life. Instead of buying coffee every morning, make it at home and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-1500-on-coffee">save $1,500 on coffee</a>.</p> <h3>2. Carpool</h3> <p>Get a few colleagues together and start a carpool. Not only do you and your carpool buddies save on gas and other vehicle maintenance expenses, it is also better for the environment.</p> <h3>3. Prevent Repair Costs</h3> <p>Sometimes frugality can go too far and end up costing you more than saving you. One area you cannot and should not be frugal in is maintenance. Ensure you do your oil changes and tire rotations on a regular basis to prevent costly car breakdown. Regular maintenance around your house, regular check ups at the doctor and the dentist will prevent steep expenditures from creeping up on you.</p> <h3>4. Share Toys</h3> <p>Buying toys can be expensive and rarely are they used to their full potential. Share your kids&rsquo; toys with your family and friends. This will enable your children to play with a variety of toys without you having to buy each item. Create a system that will allow multiple households to share in the fun and costs together.</p> <h3>5. Shop on a Full Stomach</h3> <p>When shopping on an empty stomach you tend to buy items you don&rsquo;t need or want for your diet. However, hunger makes you vulnerable and you end up purchasing what you crave at that moment. Usually these tend to be the more costly ready-to-eat snacks and meals, that are also high on calories, sugars, and sodium.</p> <h3>6. Share Baby Clothes</h3> <p>If you have a child start swapping clothes instead of buying brand new items. Parents understand that babies grow out of clothes at lightening speed. So before you go splurging on those Baby Jordans ask around and you will be surprised to find how many parents have brand new baby clothes that they can donate. As well, be generous and share your little ones&rsquo; items with your friends and family members. A little can go a long way.</p> <h3>7. Purchase Generic</h3> <p>Brand shopping can be obsessive and quickly get out of hand. First it&rsquo;s one purse and then a pair of shoes and before you know it the designer is making all the things you love. I hear you, you can&rsquo;t help but love beautiful creations. However, know that there will never be an end to new and hottest brands and they are always overpriced.</p> <h3>8. Buy in Bulk</h3> <p>Sometimes <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-myths-of-buying-in-bulk-dispelled">buying in bulk</a> can be a great cost saving technique. This is especially true for cleaning and daily use items such as paper towels, detergent, or bleach. Wait until they are on sale and buy enough to last you until the next sale rolls around. Make sure to buy things that can be stored for a long time without any defects.</p> <h3>9. Turn off the Lights</h3> <p>Turn off your lights and fix water leaks. With some effort <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-lower-water-heater-costs">reducing water and energy bills</a> can be accomplished rather easily. Depending on your location you might also have options between several service providers. Use websites that can help you find the best rates such as <a href="http://energyshop.com/">energyshop.com</a>. You can easily save 10% or more on these costs. A few hours of research can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over a year.</p> <h3>10. Purchase Used Items</h3> <p>Although there are some items that you would not purchase used, there are many things one is better off buying used than new. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-proven-ways-to-save-real-money-at-garage-sales">Garage sales</a> can often be a great money saver. One big-ticket item is a car; I am not a fan of purchasing a new car (depreciating asset). A few other items one can purchase used are home appliances, furniture and gardening tools. A few hours on <a href="http://craigslist.com/">craigslist</a>, <a href="http://ebay.com/">ebay</a> or <a href="http://autotrader.com/">autotrader</a> can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.</p> <h3>11. Cut Food Costs</h3> <p>Cut out junk food and plan meals in advance. After housing and transportation, food is the next biggest expense for most families. Although you cannot eliminate food (at least I can&rsquo;t), there are strategies you can use to reduce the cost associated with it. By planning your meals ahead of time you can avoid wasteful shopping, and reducing junk food will not only help your wallet but also your health.</p> <h3>12. Reduce Reoccurring Costs</h3> <p>Cut down on your cable, internet, phone, magazine subscriptions, and other reoccuring costs. As an entrepreneur I love subscription based services &mdash; they bring in consistent reoccurring income. As a consumer I don&rsquo;t think there is a bigger evil than subscriptions. Go over your monthly subscriptions and start cutting where you can. Small incremental amounts can end up taking a large chunk of your income. Are you still a cable subscriber? With services such as Netflix and redbox, there is no need for hefty cable subscriptions. Although those are also subscription based, the cost is a fraction of your cable bill. Review your internet and phone bills and start shopping for better plans.</p> <h3>13. Save Your Spare Change</h3> <p>Set up a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-piggy-bank-a-secret-to-simple-saving">piggy bank</a> and start saving your spare change. You would not believe how much you can accumalte by saving small amounts of change throughout the year. This is extremely effective; in fact some banks have started offering products based on this concept.</p> <h3>14. Shop Online</h3> <p>Online shopping has become extremely popular over the last few years, and often it's the online retailers that can offer big discounts. Not only is it convenient shopping from your home, you can easily compare prices and look for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/empty-coupon-code-box-you-re-paying-too-much">coupon codes</a>.</p> <h3>15. Drive Steady</h3> <p>Start driving at a steady pace and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-0-54-per-gallon-on-gas">avoid excessive speeding</a>. With gas prices going through the roof saving money on gas can add up very quickly.</p> <h3>16. Start Bargaining</h3> <p>Start bargaining! Although you may not be able to bargain at Walmart, you can do it at your local farmers markets, with your phone and cable provider, and many other purchases. Just ask!</p> <h3>17. Eat Steak at Home</h3> <p>You may not succeed on your first attempt to make a great steak, however with practice comes perfection. Save yourself a few hundred dollars by making your steak at home, the way you want it.</p> <h3>18. Pre-Drink at Home</h3> <p>If you are planning on a Saturday night out and hitting the bar, consider pre-drinking at home. I find getting a buzz at the bar can quickly become a buzz kill. Ensure you have a designated driver.</p> <h3>19. Use Coupons</h3> <p>Get cutting! In case you have not heard this before, coupons can save you money! Start using coupons for your everyday purchases; these small amounts can start adding up quickly. These days you don't even have to look for coupon booklets anymore &mdash; there are many variety of <a href="http://financialhighway.com/6-more-places-to-find-coupons/">places to find coupons</a>.</p> <h3>20. Watch the Game at Home</h3> <p>I am a big sports fan and love watching a good game at the bar. However this can get very expensive very quickly. Invite a few friends over and ask them to bring their own alcohol &mdash; you provide the snacks and entertainment. You can have just as good of an experience at home, if not better.</p> <h3>21. Fix It Yourself</h3> <p>If you broke it you can fix it. Fixing your broken items yourself can be a cost effective. With the Google and YouTube you can virtually find videos on anything you may need. Of course, be careful and make sure you have the right tools and skills for the job.</p> <h3>22. Romance on a Budget</h3> <p>Being frugal does not mean you cannot <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-simple-tips-for-romance-on-a-dime">romance your partner</a>. Instead of an expensive dinner out, create a romantic ambience at home with some candles, romantic music and home-cooked meal. Instead of expensive Hallmark cards, you can write your own short poem or just an <em>I love you</em> letter.</p> <h3>23. Be Debt Focused</h3> <p>I know this is not a debt reduction article. However paying off debt can never hurt. Often the goal of frugal living is to become financially independent. What better way to achieve that than by extinguishing debt.</p> <h3>24. Do Your Own Taxes</h3> <p>Taxes often intimidated people. However with all the tax filling softwares available, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-file-your-first-tax-return">doing your own taxes</a> is very straightforward. Unless you have a complicated situation, there often is no need to pay hefty fees for someone else to file your taxes.</p> <h3>25. Learn More about Frugal Living</h3> <p>Often frugal living seems complicated and/or boring. But the first step to living a frugal life is to learn more about frugality. Read books, articles, and blogs about saving money &mdash; like you're doing right now!</p> <p>Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-changes-you-can-make-today" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ray-jamali">Ray Jamali</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle frugal tips frugality Wed, 30 Mar 2011 11:36:09 +0000 Ray Jamali 505520 at http://www.wisebread.com Lessons From My Frugal Father http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-from-my-frugal-father <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/lessons-from-my-frugal-father" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1924959952_41e081e590_z.jpg" alt="father guiding son" title="father guiding son" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="185" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My dad was 12 years old when the first waves of the Great Depression spread across the country. A modest but thriving farm insulated his family from the worst of the effects, but this period still defined his approach to money management and influenced nearly every aspect of his lifestyle.</p> <p>When I was a kid, I skipped most of the usual rebellious attitudes about thrift and simple living. I wasn't elated that we had a smaller house, that my dad and like-minded mom controlled all the finances with a surgical precision, but I vaguely realized they had a goal and a focus that I might benefit from someday. At the risk of dating myself, I remember wanting a pair of parachute pants so badly and for so long that by the time I could finally buy a pair, wearing them would have seemed ironic.</p> <p>Now, decades later, I look back at my childhood and see the simple, direct, conscious attitude that drove my parents' financial decisions large and small. They had a goal, they discussed it, they kept the goal in focus and their biweekly paychecks weren't occasions for temptation, but little task-master reminders. With the perspective that only 30 years' worth of hindsight can give, I've filtered my dad's financial priorities down to five principles that are worth a review today:</p> <h2>Keep A Garden</h2> <p>Next door to my childhood home sat an empty lot that the city begrudgingly maintained because of absentee owners. My dad located the owners and offered to take care of the lot in exchange for permission to plant a garden on it. This large, ambitious garden thrived and supplied our family with dill, radishes, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, onions and corn for nearly 15 years. Everyone had a hand in planting, watering, weeding and harvesting what came out of that garden. It put us in control of a major portion of our food supply and was organic, sustainable and local before those concepts were cool. The positive effect on our food budget was nearly an after-thought.</p> <h2>Know Where Your Money Is</h2> <p>I have a perpetual visual memory of my father sitting down every evening and reading the paper in his recliner. About once a month or so, he would skip the paper and pull out a little 3&quot; x 5&quot; notepad and add up his net worth. He did it all by memory and line-itemed each savings account and investment that he and my mother contributed to and the corresponding balances. His accounting methods were rudimentary by today's standards, but he knew where his money was. That simple little notepad told him all he needed to know and was another tool he used to keep himself focused.</p> <h2>Take Care Of Your Stuff</h2> <p>Working in the garden took hoes, rakes, shovels, tillers and other implements that my dad was charged with taking care of. They each got the Dad Treatment of a thorough wash and a thin coat of oil on any metal parts to prevent rust. We sometimes joked as kids that if we stood still too long, we'd get washed, covered with a thin coat of oil and hung on a peg board. He took care of his tools, his cars, his clothes &mdash; anything that he had invested in was meticulously maintained in order to extend its service. So much is expendable today that often this concept gets lost in the wash of new products we have to choose from.</p> <h2>Avoid Credit</h2> <p>When I started college and fell victim to those on-campus credit card solicitors, my otherwise fairly silent father had a few things to say. While I thought quick credit marked my entrée to adulthood, my dad reminded me of his credo: if you can't afford to pay with cash, you can't afford to buy it. I've since modified his approach a bit, but I do use credit extremely conservatively and am constantly amazed at how cash-poor most of my contemporaries are. When my parents had a new large purchase to make, they added a savings 'account' on that little 3&quot; x 5&quot; notepad and saved until the item could be bought outright.</p> <h2>DIY</h2> <p>My dad had an amazing engineering gene that the DNA lottery has denied me. When something broke in our house, he instinctively knew how to fix it. If the blender stopped blending or furnace stopped heating, he could identify the specific failed part and replace it. In his more amazing MacGyver moments, if the part couldn't be purchased, he would craft it himself with a grinder or welding torch. Now, I don't own a welding torch and trying to mill a gear from an old washer would send me straight to the ER for nerve pills. But the spirit of his approach isn't lost; I can patch a leaky garden hose and replace a wax seal on a toilet (thanks, Dad). Doing tasks himself saved my dad money, probably entertained him to a certain degree and constantly expanded his range of skills.</p> <p>When I look back on those years with dad, who passed away in 2001 at the age of 84, I think of the quiet lessons he taught by example. Especially now that the world is talking about simplicity and savings and living within more modest means, I've come to treasure the images of that little 3&quot; x 5&quot; notebook, the bushel-baskets full of produce from our garden, those perfectly hung tools gleaming rust-free on the basements walls. He was a man ahead of his time.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-from-my-frugal-father" class="sharethis-link" title="Lessons From My Frugal Father" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-living/lifestyle">Lifestyle articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle frugality Great Depression simple living Fri, 06 Aug 2010 13:00:15 +0000 Kentin Waits 197956 at http://www.wisebread.com What Does Frugal Living Mean to You? http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-frugal-living-mean-to-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-does-frugal-living-mean-to-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011748597XSmall.jpg" alt="Woman holding two model houses" title="Woman holding two model houses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let me ask you this. If your friend recently bought a $1 million dollar house, is that an act of frugality? What if she could actually buy a house worth $10 million but decided to spend only 1/10 of what she could really afford? Does that change your answer? A $500,000 house is VERY expensive amongst many social circles, but Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, is always praised about his lack of desire to spend on luxury because he is still living in his house thought to be worth about $500,000.</p> <p>When you are the second richest person in the world, are you frugal if you opted for a million dollar home instead of buying a multimillion dollar mansion? I mean, a million dollars to Warren Buffett is like the cost of dinner to most of the general public! Shouldn't he be using a different scale when it comes to what is deemed frugal?</p> <h3>Frugality Is Relative</h3> <p>Most of the time, we judge others' financial habits by what we can see from the outside &mdash; the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, and the house they buy. We never realize how much money they make, and never compare what they spend as it relates to what they can actually afford. Keeping up with the Joneses? What if Mr. Jones is a billionaire?</p> <p>As you can see, the meaning of frugality is relative. What frugal living means to you may be totally different than what it means for someone else. Your neighbor could buy a $1,000 purse and she could still be frugal, while a $100 pair of shoes from another neighbor could mean that he spent too lavishly. So how can you compare? Your coworkers may have a large inheritance, your friends could have married rich, and your neighbors might be fortunate enough to run a successful business. <strong>You don't know other people's situation, and more importantly, why does it matter anyway?</strong></p> <ul> <li>Does your neighbor's BMW help <em>you</em> get to a comfortable retirement faster?</li> <li>Does your coworker's lavish vacation make <em>your</em> retirement more relaxing?</li> <li>Does your friend's purse hold more secrets to <em>your</em> financial independence?</li> </ul> <p>Take frugal living personally. In other words, stop minding other people's business like trying to keep up with the Joneses and be happy that you are frugal and that you are working towards your financial independence. In your own way of course.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-frugal-living-mean-to-you" class="sharethis-link" title="What Does Frugal Living Mean to You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-living/lifestyle">Lifestyle articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle frugality house Joneses Mon, 28 Jun 2010 14:46:58 +0000 David Ning 154656 at http://www.wisebread.com Think the iPad Will Save You Money on Magazines? Think Again! http://www.wisebread.com/think-the-ipad-will-save-you-money-on-magazines-think-again <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/think-the-ipad-will-save-you-money-on-magazines-think-again" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ipad_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Magazines, to many, are a luxury. For those who can&rsquo;t seem to live without their favorite subscriptions, we&rsquo;ve shared some tried-and-true tips for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/magazines-for-free-or-cheap">saving money on magazines</a>. Among the many ways to keep costs down are digital subscriptions. They can be purchased for far less than traditional print and ink copies, and they can get you instant access without visiting a newsstand or waiting for your postman.</p> <p>With the introduction of the iPad, many were hoping that the same companies that offered digital subscriptions and online single copies at a drastic discount would be doing the same for iPad viewing. (iPhones, after all are constantly being touted as a solution for shopping and saving money.) Unfortunately, this is just not the case.</p> <p>A recent article in <a href="http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=144157">Ad Age magazine</a> explains the reasoning behind the iPad&rsquo;s magazine pricing scheme, which will not only NOT be offering a discount on print prices, it will &mdash; in most cases &mdash; be charging more.</p> <p>There are some valid reasons for the shift (which has those of us spoiled by eReaders and discounted digital subscriptions in a bit of sticker shock.)</p> <ul> <li>By charging 2-3 times more per digital issue on the iPad than your typical discounted print price on Amazon, for example, they can afford to compete in a small emerging market. (Keep in mind that compared to millions of traditional magazine subscribers, projected iPad owners for the year 2010 still remains well under 10 million in number &mdash; and not all will subscribe to every magazine.)</li> </ul> <ul> <li>A higher price point leaves publishers free to lower costs later, which is impossible (if not just stupid) to do in reverse.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>More dynamic content may be available via the iPad &mdash; something many enthusiasts may be willing to pay for. Interactive and bonus features have worked well for DVD&rsquo;s (Blu-Ray is by default more expensive), so why not magazine content?</li> </ul> <p>For the truly frugal, an iPad isn&rsquo;t something many of us are even dealing with yet. And when the time comes that it is an affordable household staple on par with the iPhone, we may see prices for magazine offerings come way down. But if they don&rsquo;t, I suppose it&rsquo;s just another market setting a profitable margin from the outset. Only time will tell how many iPad users will pay the price.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-the-ipad-will-save-you-money-on-magazines-think-again" class="sharethis-link" title="Think the iPad Will Save You Money on Magazines? Think Again!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks/technology">Technology articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Technology frugality ipad magazine saving money Sun, 06 Jun 2010 17:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 118003 at http://www.wisebread.com Turn Off Your Air Conditioning http://www.wisebread.com/turn-off-your-air-conditioning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/turn-off-your-air-conditioning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/horse-bathing-in-ocean.jpg" alt="Horse bathing in the ocean" title="Horse Bathing in Ocean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="226" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a few places where it is impossible to live without air conditioning. These places are easy to identify: they were uninhabited until well into the 20th century. If the place you live now was not in prior days a desolate wasteland, unseen except by the occasional nomad or caravan, then air conditioning is not required. However, most people lack the skills for getting by without air conditioning. Here's a quick primer.</p> <p>First a little personal history. Back in the early 1980s I lived in Ft. Lauderdale for a couple of years. Finding money a bit tight, my roommate and I agreed to economize by turning off the AC. I was a bit doubtful about being able to manage, and I did get pretty hot and sweaty at times, but in fact it turned out to be pretty easy. Since then, I've largely avoided air conditioning wherever I've lived.</p> <p>So, here are my getting by without air conditioning tips:</p> <h3>1. During the heat of the day, go somewhere cool.</h3> <p>This was easy for me, because I worked in an air conditioned office, but there are plenty of other cool places: libraries, movie theaters, coffee shops, campus buildings, parks, forests, ponds, lakes, oceans, etc.</p> <h3>2. Manage your windows.</h3> <p>We would open our windows wide during the night and by early morning the interior would have cooled down nicely. On a work day we'd close the windows as we headed out, so the place would stay somewhat cool. If you're home during the heat of the day, things are a bit more complex, but you can still close your windows as soon as it starts to warm up outside and have an extra couple of cool hours indoors. Likewise, use curtains to minimize solar gain.</p> <h3>3. Live in an appropriate building.</h3> <p>I discovered what a big difference appropriate architecture made because various friends lived in homes that were much better than the one I lived in. One place in particular was a small block of apartments built before air conditioning was common. They had jalousie windows on two sides, to let breezes through. They were only one story, so there was no second story to get hot. They were made of masonry, which helped stabilize temperature extremes.</p> <h3>4. Install ceiling fans.</h3> <p>In South Florida, <em>everyone</em> had ceiling fans, even people who used their air conditioning all the time. A gentle breeze makes a huge difference in what temperature is comfortable.</p> <h3>5. Drink plenty of cold water.</h3> <p>Anything that directly cools your body is going to help, and cold water is effective and virtually free. Cold soda and cold beer are also effective, but cost money and add calories: use only in moderation.</p> <h3>6. Take it easy.</h3> <p>When possible, arrange for physical labor and exercise to take place when it's cooler. If your schedule will tolerate a siesta, that's a great way to manage the hottest part of the day.</p> <h3>7. Accept that you will be hot.</h3> <p>The various tactical adaptations mentioned above are really secondary. They key strategic step is purely mental: embrace the heat. Yes, you will sometimes be hot and sweaty, but that is hardly the end of the world. When you're uncomfortable, go someplace cool or take a shower or sit down in the shade with a big glass of cold water.</p> <h2>Important Caution</h2> <p>The very young, the very old, and people with certain medical conditions, can't handle as much heat as healthy youths and adults. People die every year from heat stroke. Especially vulnerable are people who can't take the common-sense step of going someplace cool:</p> <ul> <li>Children left unattended in a hot car,</li> <li>Elderly or disabled people who aren't mobile without help,</li> <li>People in neighborhoods so bad that they're afraid to leave their home,</li> <li>Athletes, soldiers, and prisoners pressured to continue working in the heat.</li> </ul> <p>If anyone you care about (or that you're responsible for) falls into a category like that, take the responsibility of checking on them and making sure that they're okay. A little care will go a lot further toward protecting them than just dumping an extra few hundred dollars into air conditioning.</p> <p><em>This post was included in the latest </em><a href="http://firefinance.blogspot.com/2010/03/festival-of-frugality-220-minimalist.html"><em>Festival of Frugality</em></a><em>.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-off-your-air-conditioning" class="sharethis-link" title="Turn Off Your Air Conditioning " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living air conditioning frugality stay cool Mon, 08 Mar 2010 15:19:29 +0000 Philip Brewer 5674 at http://www.wisebread.com Ruthless Frugality http://www.wisebread.com/ruthless-frugality <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ruthless-frugality" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/arctic-mountains.jpg" alt="Arctic Mountains" title="Arctic Mountains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are many strategies for frugality: Don't buy stuff you don't need. Stock up when you get a good price. Make smart decisions about when to pay up for quality and when to get the cheap stuff. Then there's what I call ruthless frugality: Always getting the best price.</p> <p>I'm not talking about stupid frugality &mdash; buying the cheapest shoes you can find even though they hurt your feet. Nor am I talking about shopping around, using coupons, and so on. Rather, I'm talking about getting the best price you can <strong>without regard for what's behind the great price</strong>.</p> <p>At the extreme, of course, there's criminal frugality &mdash; buying stolen goods and pretending to believe that they fell off the back of a truck. But short of that, there are all sorts of things that enter the general stream of commerce at prices that embed lots of bad practices &mdash; stuff made in sweatshops by children or prisoners or slaves, stuff made in ways that poison the workers or trash the environment.</p> <p>Most people delegate to the government the job of policing how things are produced. There are, for example, laws about how farm animals have to be treated, and most people hope that those laws are strict enough that the food produced is safe and the animals' suffering is minimized.</p> <p>But it's worth thinking about the costs of ruthless frugality. One good reason to pay more than you need to is to be a good neighbor, such as by buying locally. Patronizing local shops often costs more, but part of the reason the big box stores are cheaper is because they've got competition. Let all the local stores die and you can expect to see prices rise at the chain stores. More important, money spent in local stores tends to stay in town &mdash; possibly getting spent on stuff that you make or services that you provide. Perhaps more important yet, local production is often more ethical and more sustainable.</p> <p>I talk about voluntary simplicity as being an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-as-hedonism">essentially hedonistic lifestyle</a>, because a high overall level of frugality frees up resources that can go to those specific areas of your life where paying more makes a difference that matters to you. The upside of frugality is more of what you care about.</p> <p>I think a little hedonism is great, when it is enabled by thoughtful choices about priorities. But I think a similar amount of thinking ought to go into where really cheap stuff comes from &mdash; and whether your values can support the ruthlessness built into the price.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ruthless-frugality" class="sharethis-link" title="Ruthless Frugality " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living frugality lowest price Fri, 22 Jan 2010 14:00:04 +0000 Philip Brewer 4785 at http://www.wisebread.com Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dumpster_1.jpg" alt="Dumpster" title="Dumpster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="196" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The frugality blogosphere was buzzing last week with an article by Katherine Hibbert about how she was getting by in London spending just about nothing. People were arguing about whether her lifestyle was really frugal, simple, or sustainable.</p> <p>You ought to read her article <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/02/katherine-hibbert-living-without-money">My free and easy life</a>, which is excellent, but, very briefly, she gets by through a combination of living in vacant buildings (squatting) and dumpster diving (called &quot;skipping&quot; in the UK). The questions in the blogosphere, though, had to do with the extent to which her example can serve as a model for the rest of us.</p> <p>(I should mention that the laws on squatting are different in the UK. The article goes into some detail on that topic.)</p> <p>In all three spheres, the disconnect had to do with where you drew the line around the activity before deciding whether it was frugal, simple, or sustainable.</p> <p>If you drew the line just around Katherine Hibbert, her lifestyle was obviously very frugal &mdash; she got by on less than &pound;1 a day! It was simple, too &mdash; once she got past being stressed over knowing that she might be evicted at any time, her biggest problem was boredom, and she solved that by studying and doing volunteer work.</p> <p>But if you drew the line a bit wider, the frugality and simplicity became a lot fuzzier. All over London people are maintaining vacant buildings; that's how she and her friends found places to squat. All over London people were pitching perfectly good stuff into dumpsters; that's how she and her friends found their food, their furnishings, and the stuff they sold to pay the bills that they needed cash for (such as her mobile phone contract). That's not simple and it's certainly not not frugal.</p> <p>It's true that people were already doing that before she came along and made use of the buildings that were sitting idle and the stuff that was on its way to the landfill. In fact, part of her motivation is to <strong>draw attention</strong> to the fact that these resources are going to waste. (The results of her efforts are sometimes perverse, though &mdash; she points out that perfectly good food is being pitched into the dumpster and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-retailers-do-with-their-unwanted-merchandise">merchants respond</a> by puncturing the containers so as to ruin the food, or by locking the dumpsters to keep people out.)</p> <p>And here is where sustainability comes in. Some number of people can get by on the detritus of western consumer society. In fact, quite a few people. I have no doubt that the food, clothes, and consumer goods thrown away every month in the United States, if distributed among the very poor, could bring every American up to a decent standard of living. But that's only true because so many people are trying so very hard to live better than that.</p> <p>If ordinary people decided to live the way I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-ive-been-trying-to-say">keep recommending</a> &mdash; building a frugal lifestyle grounded in careful thought about what they really need &mdash; the cornucopia of surplus goods would dry up pretty quickly. Whether you call it dumpster diving or skipping, it <strong>doesn't scale</strong>.</p> <p>Now, in one sense that's a theoretical point. I don't think we need to fear that millions of working-class and middle-class folks will suddenly abandon the rat race and decide to get by on what they can scavenge. But, I think it's more than a <strong>merely</strong> theoretical point, because there are a lot of pressures against the present model.</p> <p>None of the people producing the excess stuff that ends up in the trash is doing so because they want to. In fact, they're all trying actively to waste less &mdash; and as they get better at reducing waste, the waste stream will tend to dry up. At the same time, social pressure to divert the waste stream to the truly needy will tend to dry it up as well, at least as far as people like Katherine Hibbert are concerned &mdash; the &quot;surplus&quot; food will end up at food banks instead of dumpsters. That's a good thing, but it'll be tough for people who used to get their food for free.</p> <p>Of course, to the extent that people are choosing this lifestyle in order to make a point (rather than because they're lazy slackers), it's all to the good &mdash; it'll mean that their point has been heard. But to the extent that they've chosen this lifestyle because it appeals to them, I don't think it's got a long term future. It only works because cheap energy and cheap money have made us all temporarily rich; that's not going to last.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability" class="sharethis-link" title="Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living frugal frugal life frugality simple living sustainability Wed, 13 Jan 2010 14:00:03 +0000 Philip Brewer 4619 at http://www.wisebread.com Are Americans Experiencing Frugality Fatigue? http://www.wisebread.com/are-americans-experiencing-frugality-fatigue <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-americans-experiencing-frugality-fatigue" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007066625XSmall.jpg" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A recent <a href="http://sharonastyk.com/2009/10/21/toys-r-not-us-making-a-homemade-holiday/">post</a> in Sharon Astyk's lovely sustainability blog mentions the idea that Americans are suffering from &quot;frugality fatigue.&quot; After a year of tightened belts and tighter fists, we're reaching for our wallets again and returning to our bad old ways. Or so the theory goes.</p> <p>On the one hand, the idea seems laughable. Almost <a href="http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemployment&amp;met=unemployment_rate&amp;tdim=true&amp;q=unemployment+rates+in+US">10% of us are unemployed</a>, the highest percentage of unemployment in my adult life. The weekend's news was that <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gNiyJ905Ho0Ur96V2TQhsBX19lGwD9BLKVCG0">consumer spending fell</a> slightly in September, and no one is expecting much shopping this holiday season.</p> <p>Could we really be tired of being frugal? Surely we all see the need to keep saving. I doubt anyone is looking at the economic news and thinking the crisis is over and we can resume shopping where we left off.</p> <p>I can see why some people would be breaking out of their frugal habits a little, though. My own spending went up in September and October. Not because I was tired of saving. I spent more money because my stuff started to break.</p> <p>In the past six weeks, I've replaced my family car, my home heating system, a chunk of my wardrobe and part of my computer system.</p> <p>I wasn't partying &mdash; just maintaining. I only formally joined <a href="http://childwild.com/2009/06/15/the-compact/">The Compact</a> to buy nothing new six months ago, but like many Americans I'd been shopping lightly if at all for a long time. A lot of my key possessions hit their breaking point all at once.</p> <p>In the bad old days of credit cards and financial blindness, I probably would have replaced that stuff sooner, more gradually and with more fun.</p> <p>For instance, I would not have waited until I was in a wedding party to buy some new clothes after having a baby and losing my baby weight. I'd have celebrated fitting back into my skinny jeans by going out and buying more skinny jeans. Instead, I literally tightened my belt to keep my pants up until I really *had* to go shopping.</p> <p>I suspect a lot of people are in my shoes: after eschewing shopping in favor of saving, you're finding out you do occasionally need to buy some Stuff.</p> <p>What have you spent money on in the past few months? Have you found creative ways to replace things that break or wear out? Has your spending crept up recently, or are you just as frugal as ever? Let us know in the comments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-americans-experiencing-frugality-fatigue" class="sharethis-link" title="Are Americans Experiencing Frugality Fatigue? " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sierra-black">Sierra Black</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Economy frugality Wed, 04 Nov 2009 14:00:02 +0000 Sierra Black 3787 at http://www.wisebread.com