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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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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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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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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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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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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How to throw great, yet affordable, football parties


A new season is here that has nothing to do with pumpkin-spiced everything – it’s football season.

Every Saturday and Sunday (and Monday and Thursday nights, too) provide a great excuse to get together with friends and root for your team. Or some other team. Does it really matter?

Of course your entertainment and recreation funds aren’t unlimited.

So here’s how to stage epic football parties week in and week out, at home and in the stadium parking lot, without sacking your budget.
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What can you do with a busted smart phone?

Well, that really depends on your phone’s make and model and how broken we’re talking.

Let’s say you trip and drop your smart phone down a flight of stairs or accidentally fling it into a toilet and find that some critical function has been lost. It will no longer text or tweet, or has stopped playing You Tube and Candy Crush.

What do you do? Maybe you exchange it for a refurbished phone, sell it for its parts or simply drop it off at a recycling center. Maybe you do absolutely nothing.

But you are not the average consumer! No, you are the savvy, DIY type always down to save a buck. So what are some things you can do with a broken phone that still maintains some measure of functionality?

1. Busted smartphones can be a goldmine for new parents. You could spend up to $300 on a brand new baby monitor system, or you could just rig up your own with an otherwise unusable iPhone. (This method, however, does require the use of one functional iPhone.) Assuming your broken phone still has some audio/camera capabilities, you can stream both from the broken phone to the usable one. Do yourself a favor though and leave the busted one with baby! (I’m not a professional in the childcare field and would strongly recommend consulting one before using this method.)

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