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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 Frugal Living 
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Cost of Living Does Make a Difference: Is Switching Worthwhile?

BudgetThere is something about city living that just can’t be beat. There is ease of transportation, plenty of cultural events, job opportunities. The list can go on. There are definite benefits to living in a big city, but sometimes the biggest cities have the highest cost of living. While some people believe that the salaries in a big city make up for the high cost of living, many would disagree.

Sure, you often make more money when you live in a place with a higher cost of living, but the bump in salary is often not enough to make up for the high cost of living.

If you live in an area with a high cost of living and having trouble getting ahead or making ends meet, you may want to consider moving to a different city or a suburban location where the cost of living is substantially lower. Your dollars can work harder, and you can get ahead financially more easily, even if you are making less money.

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 Frugal Living 
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Frugal Gift Giving: Trading Your Skills, Talents, and Time

Wrapped GiftsShopping for holiday gifts for your family, friends, children’s teachers, service providers, and neighbors can leave you and your wallet exhausted. Do you really know everyone on your gift giving list well enough to buy them a thoughtful present? Most likely the answer is no, so you probably resort to giving cash. If you would like to keep your Benjamins in your wallet where they belong, there is another way you could approach gift giving this year.

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 Frugal Living 
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5 Ways to Snag Holiday Travel Deals

Luggage Carts at AirportHeading ho-ho-home for the holiday season can also mean going bro-bro-broke thanks to high travel costs. Even as prices on airfare, hotels and rental cars steadily increase, there are still deals says Jean Chatzky, author of eight finance books including “Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security” and host of the personal finance show, “Money Matters with Jean Chatzky,” on RLTV. Here’s how to save on holiday travel.

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 Frugal Living 
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5 Ways to Host a Frugal Holiday Dinner

Holiday Dinner PlateThe holiday season is a time of celebrating, and eating, together.  Christmas offers an excellent opportunity to share time with family and friends, but if you aren’t careful, hosting the meal can cost a bundle. However, there are simple things you can do now, a few weeks before Christmas, to make sure you can offer a delicious, yet frugal meal.

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 Frugal Living, Shopping 
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Generate Some Cash for the Holidays by Selling “Stuff” on eBay and Craigslist

InternetThe stores have been marketing Christmas to us since at least October, though they really ramp up their efforts in November and December. They have to. Many retailers “depend on the last two months of the year for up to 40 percent of their annual sales” (Syracuse.com).

While consumer shopping is expected to be up 4.1% in November and December, that is slower growth than the previous two years (Syracuse.com). There are many reasons why shoppers may be holding tight to their purse strings this year, including the looming fiscal cliff.

However, if you have a basement (and closet and bedroom) full of stuff, economic uncertainty can help you pad your bottom line because more and more shoppers are looking for a good deal.

Where do they look? Often on Craigslist and eBay.

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 Frugal Living 
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5 Low Cost Winter Activities to Get in Shape

WalkingSure, we are all enjoying the holiday indulgences now, but in just a few short weeks, we will all have that moment when we face the scale. And the number probably won’t be one that we like. As soon as the holiday revelry is over, millions of people vow to get in shape for the new year. The fitness industry loves this because it means people will be joining the gym in droves and working out–for a few weeks.

This year, don’t be one of those who joins the gym only to go a few times. There are several low cost activities you can do this winter to shed the pounds and get in shape that don’t cost $50 or more a month.

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 Frugal Living 
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Never Buy Expensive HDMI Cables [SCIENCE!]

HDMI CablesIf you believe the advertisements, the holiday season is all about buying expensive electronics.

If you perused any of the Black Friday ads, half of the deals were for televisions. Now, if you bought a television, chances are you’re going to need some cables and this fantastic little company called Monster would love to sell you a 35 foot cable for three hundred dollars! You can “see and hear every detail, every nuance, without compromise.” … or you could use your brain and pick one up at Monoprice for less than thirty bucks.

But are the two really the same? Is it possible that a $300 HDMI cable could be worth the price tag?

My friend Mark sent me this epic cable – 3.3′ for $1,095.99 (free shipping!) at Best Buy. Stunning.

Clearly this is something Jamie and Adam of Mythbusters has tackled… right? Kinda.

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 Frugal Living 
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5 Ways to Make Extra Money this Holiday Season

extra moneyThere is probably no greater time when your budget feels strained than the holidays. If you have children, of course, they expect presents both from you and Santa. That expense is a given, but then there is also pressure to give a small token to everyone who helps you during the rest of the year: your hairstylist, the mailman, your children’s teachers, your children’s coaches, babysitter or your children’s daycare, on and on the list seems to grow. If you have extended family, you may exchange presents with them too.

If you are searching for ways to make extra money this holiday season, consider some of these ideas:

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