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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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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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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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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Should You Re-Gift this Holiday Season?

Gift BoxesOne of the biggest tricks in the frugal gift giving book is re-gifting. What better way to save money on gifts to others than using something that you didn’t even have to buy?

However, re-gifting is not always the way to go. You want to be careful about how you re-gift, and make sure that you are doing so in an appropriate manner.

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5 Tips for Using Mobile Coupons

mobile couponCoupon clipping has long been hailed as the cornerstone of frugal living. While I’m not a big fan of coupons, I know that many people use them to save money. And, with the right strategies, the savings from using coupons can really add up over time.

Some of those coupon clipping strategies are time consuming, though. That’s why some people are embracing mobile coupons. No more clipping. And no more unwieldy coupon file. However, mobile coupons aren’t always the more convenient money savers.

Different retailers use different systems to deliver their mobile offerings, and sometimes your coupons aren’t organized in a very friendly manner on your mobile device. Here are 5 things to consider while using mobile coupons:

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Thirty Homemade Christmas Gifts

Chocolate Cup-CakeIf you are looking for a way to really stand out during the holiday season, consider giving a homemade gift. Homemade gifts can be heartfelt, and provide you with a way to provide something truly unique to the recipients. These gifts not only save you money, but they can also give you a way to personalize gifts in a way that shows how much you really care for the recipients.

It may seem early right now, but the truth is that Christmas will be here before you know it. If you want to go the homemade gift route, to give something with a truly personal touch, without breaking the bank, now is the time to start preparing and making. With a little creativity, you can create something that others will enjoy.

Homemade Christmas gifts are unique and memorable, and when properly executed, can offer lasting satisfaction. Here are thirty homemade Christmas gift ideas:
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10 Easy, Last Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

We are the robotsFor some people, it’s a scramble to get a costume together on Halloween. Whether you are going to a party, or whether you just want something fun to wear for the kids that come to the door, putting together a Halloween costume doesn’t have to be difficult.

There are a number of easy to assemble last minute Halloween costume ideas. You probably have most of what you need around the house already — so it won’t cost very much, either. Here are 10 ideas for easy, last minute Halloween costumes:

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5 Low Cost Halloween Party Food Ideas

Witch FingersHave you eaten Mummy Dogs before? How about Witches’ Fingers? We’re rounding out our week of Halloween ideas with some party food ideas that will surely make your parties the scariest on the block!

My daughter was born 3 days before Halloween, so when we had her first birthday party, we had a Halloween themed party complete with Mummy Dogs and Witches Fingers. Surprisingly, while the kids loved the fun food, the adults liked it just as much. There is something about Halloween that brings out the kid in all of us.

Even better, many of these ghouly foods don’t cost any more than other party foods, and in some cases, they may be cheaper, which is always a bonus.

If you are planning a Halloween party, here are some fun foods you might want to consider making:

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