Frugal Living Column

Whether it’s hunting for the best deals around or growing your fruits and vegetables, living a frugal lifestyle is a challenge that can bring a great sense of accomplishment. Spending cents while others spend dollars, embracing this lifestyle has benefits beyond your checkbook.


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 Family, Frugal Living 
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6 ways to save on food costs during road trips with family

Friends planning road trips.

If you’ve been considering taking road trips with the kids, now might be a great time to put it into gear.

In April 2016, American drivers had saved nearly $12 billion on gas during the first months of the year compared to what they spent on fuel during the same time period in 2015, according to a recent AAA survey.

Furthermore, drivers are expected to pay the lowest gas prices in 12 years while traveling in summer, noted AAA.

As a result, 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take road trips this year. In fact, road trips are the most popular type of vacation for families planning to travel, followed by national parks and theme parks.

Without the need to worry about high prices at the pump, you can focus your savings radar on another key travel factor: food.

Food costs can fluctuate greatly, depending on when you stop to get a bite to eat, where you dine and what you pack before heading out.
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 Frugal Living 
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4 ideas for spring landscaping on a budget

Spring landscaping

The first signs of color have exploded over most of the nation with spring bulbs pushing their heads above ground. Weather has warmed in many parts of the U.S. And your yard looks a bit shaggy. Instead of spending big bucks to get it into shape, try some of these inexpensive spring landscaping ideas instead.
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 Frugal Living 
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21 earth-friendly ways to save on Earth Day

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Earth Day is a great time to remember what we can do to help “green” the planet. These suggestions have dual benefits; they contribute to environmentally friendliness, but they also save us money. Let’s take a look at some everyday ideas you can implement around the home, outside and at work.
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 Frugal Living 
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6 Ways to save on your spring break road trip

Toy car, money and calculator over white. Concept for buying, re

With gas prices slated to remain at the current level or even dip a little, loading the family into the car and taking them on the interstate to explore and relax on a road trip makes perfect sense.

You won’t pay extra no matter how many passengers you have, there are no luggage fees and even Fido rides for free. You can stop whenever and wherever you want. It’s the ideal way to take a vacation.
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 Frugal Living 
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Turn your discarded cell phone into an asset

Turn a cell phone into an asset
March 17, 2016

When we buy new cell phones many of us hang on to our old ones. We rationalize that if the new one leaves us in the lurch, we still have a handset we can use. But after numerous upgrades, the pile of electronics taking up unnecessary space in our homes reaches critical mass. Then it’s time to properly get rid of what was at one time the latest and greatest technology.
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 Frugal Living 
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9 ways to save on pet care costs

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February 13, 2016
Expenses for pampered pups and coddled cats add up quickly.

The best food for our finicky four-legged friends racks up the dollar signs at the grocery store checkout counter. And a trip to one of the pet franchises can easily blow your budget.

If they get sick, the veterinarian bills skyrocket.

But we adore these guys. They greet us when we come home, and shower us with unconditional love. Some even crawl into our lap while we watch TV. We tend to want what’s best for them.

It is possible to take good care of Lassie and Garfield without breaking the bank. Here’s how.

Spay or neuter.

Besides being the correct thing to do to cut down on the unwanted animal population, you thwart all kinds of behaviors that can set you back financially.

After our collie was neutered, he quit “marking” his territory throughout the house saving on cleaning expenses like extra rolls of paper towels, disinfectant and carpet cleaning.

Pets who haven’t been spayed or neutered are more aggressive towards other dogs and cats, leaving you open to vet bills for someone else’s companion.
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How to get people to buy your junk … A guide to selling almost anything on Facebook groups

A few months ago, when I was putting my recycling and bulk items out on garbage day, I happened to run into my neighbor who noticed that some old toys and baby gear were among the curbside casualties.

She politely suggested that I was throwing good money away, and proceeded to tell me about a local Facebook selling group to which she belongs.

That night, after rescuing my almost-thrown out items, I snapped a few photos with my cell phone to see if she was right – that there are people right in my own neighborhood who would pay me cash for used toys and other “junk” taking up space in my basement.

A hundred bucks in my pocket later, and I was hooked.

While selling stuff online is nothing new, doing so through an unofficial channel like a local Facebook group wasn’t something I was familiar with.

Unlike eBay, there are no packaging hassles or shipping costs, no credit cards or PayPal transactions to deal with, and no system of starred user reviews to rely on.

It’s also a little less anonymous than Craigslist, which I find to be scary for a variety of reasons.

Instead, Facebook Group selling is like having a garage sale minus the folding table set-up and haggling over scratched CD collections.
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 Frugal Living 
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Cord-Cutter Alert: Cheap new app pushes cable TV one step closer to obsolescence

If you loathe cable TV (and who doesn’t?), there’s now another, cheaper alternative for all of you aspiring cord-cutters.

Sling TV, a subsidiary of Dish Networks, is the newest streaming TV service on the block, and it seems to be a viable replacement for cable, especially if you only watch a handful of channels.

The company’s motto: “Take Back TV.”

For $20 a month, the service allows its subscribers to watch cable on demand from their television sets, smartphones and tablets.

You’ll get 14 channels: ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, El Rey and Galavision.

For an extra $5 a month, you can watch live NBA, NFL, college basketball, college football and some soccer games — think March Madness and the NBA All-Star Game. You can also add a kid channel package ($5) and a news package (another $5).
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