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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‘Sell by’ dates on food lie to you, waste your money

Problems with food dating cause people to waste foodEver find food past its “sell by” date in the fridge and just throw it away without looking at it? If so, you’re almost certainly throwing away perfectly good food, according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic.

There’s a temptation to treat the dates on food as infallible predictors of when food will go bad, but in a lot of cases they’re basically bologna. Many dates aren’t based on food safety, but on when the manufacturers thinks the food will taste best. That causes a lot of retailers and consumers to toss food that’s perfectly fine to eat.

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 Frugal Living 
8
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Is iOS 7 an evil plot to obsolete your old iPhone?

This is what your iPhone 3GS looks like nowWhile Apple fanatics are celebrating the birth of a new iPhone, owners of older models reluctant to drop money on an upgrade don’t have much to cheer about.

When a new generation comes out, it brings a new operating system, or OS. For iPhone 4 and 4s users, iOS 7 means crucial functions may take up to twice as long. That’s a drag, but for iPhone 3GS users, it means something worse: Their phone is now officially obsolete and eventually, when new apps coming out demand iOS7 in order to be installed, they’ll be left out.


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 Frugal Living, Personal Finance 
13
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McD Monopoly Game: Mail-in vs. Hash Browns Epic Challenge Part 4

mcd game pieces
It’s been a long month, to say the least. McDonald’s Monopoly unexpectedly started two months early, forcing Jim and me to scramble around and figure out what to do. Then in haste we decided it’d be smart to buy tons of food and write even more SASE letters than last year.

And we did it. Whew.

Today’s the final day to input codes online for the game, so we figured it’s the perfect time to wrap up our little experiment.

In part 1 Jim bought 200 hash browns while I stamped 500 SASE letters to McDonald’s, Part 2 involved the peeling of all the greasy, grimey pieces off the hash browns and cataloging, and part 3 kicked off with my receipt of 494 of my 500 letters from McDonald’s, containing 1,976 pieces.

Below is a breakdown of our results. Enjoy!


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 Frugal Living 
8
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How to Save Money on Discounted Movie Tickets

Regal CinemasA few weeks ago, I took advantage of a Gillette promotion that left me with a Fandango code for a free movie ticket. We haven’t been to the movies in several months and so we caught an early showing of Despicable Me 2 (we love those minions!) in a near empty theater. There might have been four other people there (like I said, early showing).

Those empty theaters are why movie companies offer such steep discounts for matinees and early bird showings. Showing the movie costs some negligible amount so any time you can get a paying customer, you’re profiting.

Other than going really early during the day, which isn’t possible most of the time, what other ways can you save at the movies?

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 Frugal Living 
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7 Dead Simple DIY Frugal Tips

DetergentThere are a lot of “do it yourself” projects out there and with the internet, instructions are plentiful. Not all frugality driven DIY projects are created equal. We’ve talked about ridiculous frugality before but sometimes it’s hard to draw the line of what is ridiculous and what is actually worth our time. Now, not everyone can grow their own garden and not everyone can sew their own clothes… but there are a whole host of great frugal ideas out there that any novice can do and that is actually worth doing.

What qualifies as something you can do yourself? Anything I think I can do. :)

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 Frugal Living 
17
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How to Get Free Shipping

ShippingI love shopping online for a lot of reasons, many of which tap into my deeply rooted love of laziness and sloth. I like that something is delivered straight to my door. I love that I usually don’t have to pay sales taxes on it. I love that I then have this awesome box or envelope I can use to ship other things (like the books you all win in the auctions!). I just simply need to be patient and wait for the package to arrive! It’s a win win.

The only downside to getting things shipped is the cost. Fortunately plenty of stores offer ways for you to get free shipping and today I’ll tell you what we do to maximize the times we get free shipping.

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 Frugal Living 
3
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How to Save Money as an Intern

2011 Intern Closing ceremonyBefore graduating from college, many students participate in a ritual known as “the internship.”

I was an intern myself at one time. For many interns, this period of time is entirely devoted to trying to obtain a marketable skill while subsisting on crap wages — or even no wages at all. I wasn’t paid for my internship, and in the current economy, many students find that the best internships are already taken.

So, what can you do when your main source of compensation is college credit? Three former interns (who have “real” jobs now) share their tips for saving money:

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 Frugal Living 
23
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15 Cheap Valentine’s Day Dates

Valentine's Day Cheap DatesValentine’s Day is coming up in a few days and I’m sure you have everything planned… right? Right?

With the economy still on the weaker side, the responsible thing to do is for you to go out, spend a lot of money, and stimulate the economy! I’m only kidding. :)

Valentine’s Day isn’t about spending money on your loved one, it’s about spending time with your loved one. I’ve listed fifteen ideas that my wife and I have done over the years (not just on Valentine’s Day, but for our date night’s and other such occasions) and hope you can get some good ideas too!

Long time readers will recognize some of these ideas from a few years back. It’s still as applicable today as it was when it was originally published and I’ve added and replaced a few ideas!

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