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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7 Ways to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

NokiaA decade ago, cell phones were just gaining in popularity; now, according to Pew Internet, “83% of American adults have some type of cell phone” and “35% of American adults have a smartphone.” Many American households have dropped their home land lines in favor of using their cell phones exclusively. While cell phones offer great convenience and we have come to rely on them as a necessity, they can often come with a hefty price tag. If you have a cell phone, you likely want to reduce the expense.

With the release of the new iPhone 5, we thought it’d be important to put a little perspective back into everyone’s lives. The iPhone is pricey – $199 if you get a 2 year plan, which starts at $80-$85 a month. It’s hundreds more if you try to buy it without the plan. If you’re in line to buy one of those, chances are you will need some of these tips!

Here are some strategies to help you save some cash on your cell phone bill.

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 Frugal Living 
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10 Frugal Family Fun Activities for the Fall

Fall ColorsWhile I wait for the warmth of summer every spring, by the time summer is over, I am ready for the crisp fall air and the beautiful fall foliage. Fall is the perfect time to relax a bit, slow down and enjoy time with the family. Between autumn harvests and Halloween, fall offers families plenty of fun, frugal activities.

Try some of these activities in upcoming weekends:
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What to Buy (What to Skip) at Dollar Stores

Dollar StoresSome people swear by dollar stores and try to do most of their shopping there; others never step foot in the dollar store because they are convinced everything there must be cheap and poorly made. There is truth in both of these opinions. Some things you can buy at dollar stores are great deals, and others should be avoid at all costs.

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 Frugal Living 
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IKEA Offering $25 off $250 Coupon

IKEAWhen I was in college, IKEA furniture was king. It was cheap, it was light, and what it didn’t have in durability it made up for in frugality. I had a rule of thumb when it came to IKEA furniture (specifically any item with moving parts) – “IKEA furniture can only survive one move.” Static furniture, like bookcases and couches, could survive several moves but anything with plastic pieces or moving parts, like a chest of drawers, could handle being shoved into a U-Haul truck only once. Move it again and you were inviting disaster! (it’s not an indictment of IKEA, it was more an indictment of how I, and my bribed friends, treated furniture when I moved)

I wish we had this coupon when I was at school, a nice $25 off $250 purchase for all you back to schoolers (or parents of back to schoolers) looking to pick up furniture on the cheap. If you can’t find what you want on Craigslist or Freecycle, this $25 off $250 might soften the blow of an IKEA visit.

Terms & Conditions of the coupon:
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How to Make $200 This Weekend

It happens to the best of us. You are doing fine financially, and then you hit an unexpected financial bump. Maybe your car needs an expensive repair or your daughter needs braces. Whatever the financial bump may be, here are some good ways to make $200 in a weekend. Each of them alone might not net you $200, but if you do a few of them, you should easily reach $200, if not more.

Consider these sources of extra income:

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5 Celebrity Chefs’ Best Tasting Bargain Food

LobsterFood Network has spawned a boon of celebrity chefs as has PBS. While many of them can make tasty food, often their recipes are full of expensive ingredients. (I am thinking of my favorite chef, Ina Garten, who makes delicious meals such as lobster pot pies. I would love to eat at her house, but I can’t afford to make many of her meals at home.) However, if you search carefully, you will find a few celebrity chefs who not only offer tasty food, but inexpensive food.

Here are a few of my favorite chefs who prepare affordable food:

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5 Ways to Slash Your Laundry Costs

LaundryWhile laundry is much easier to do now than it was 100 years ago, the modern conveniences like a washer and dryer and commercial detergent can add up over time. If you have a large family or live in an apartment and have to use the Laundromat, you will see your costs increase even more. However, just a few easy changes to your routine can add up to significant savings over the course of a year.

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5 Ridiculous Ways to Save Money

Toilet paper... roll?When it comes to frugal living, it’s possible to save money if you make certain lifestyle choices. Without kids and pets, you could save a lot each year. But many of us like the emotional benefits that come with some expensive decisions, like having a mortgage for that home you bought, and sending the kids to college.

That money spent has to be made up somewhere. Some people decide to make more money as a way to offset those costs. Others, though, take frugality to the next extreme. While there are some quite sensible things you can do to save money, there are also some crazy ways to be frugal. Here are some of the more ridiculous ways that some people save money:

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