Frugal Living 
25
comments

Five Tips to Save Money on Your Laundry

Holiday Coin LaundromatMy husband and I don’t usually embrace ultra-frugality for the sake of saving a buck or two.  But we will change our habits if the changes are easy or we can save a significant amount of money over time.  When we realized we were doing more than 5 loads of laundry a week for two people, we decided to try out a few things (homemade laundry detergent did not make the cut).  Some suggestions worked very well but others were complete flops.  Here are a few tips we have come up with to save some money and time on laundry.

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 Frugal Living 
39
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Extreme Couponing: Classic Time vs. Money Dilemma

Coupon AccordianReality television shows are getting more and more “extreme.” Whether it’s families with enough kids to field a football team or people who tip the scales at several hundred pounds, it seems like the television watching public is obsessed with any extreme. The “first” reality show was basically extreme living on a remote island – remember the first season of Survivor? (surprisingly, I’ve never watched a full episode of Survivor, not sure how I avoided it)

Well, the latest “craze” seems to be a show called Extreme Couponing. If you haven’t seen the show, it basically follows people who buy a ton of stuff without paying a lot of money. There’s a lot of fake drama, as they talk about how they only budgeting $300 for groceries this month but the tally, before coupons, is up in the several hundreds of dollars. There’s some fake “worry” as the cashier starts scanning coupons and then shots of the manager and other people standing around watching.

Extreme is not the right name for this show, it should be called Excessive Couponing. Deadliest Catch is appropriately named – people die up there. It’s not extreme, it’s excessive.
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 Frugal Living 
47
comments

Five Gas Saving Myths

Gas StationWith global turmoil continuing to threaten higher gas prices — especially with the summer driving season just around the corner — it is little surprise that many people are looking for ways to save money on gas.

Indeed, as gas moves toward the $4.00 per gallon level that many think is inevitable, increasing fuel economy becomes even more important. We want to be able get the most for our gas station dollar. It is tempting to believe that you can do a few simple things and then find yourself raking in the savings. The truth, though, is that some “conventional” wisdom about saving money on gas is outdated. Or even downright false. Here are five gas saving tips that probably won’t do much in terms of saving you money at the pump:

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 Frugal Living 
30
comments

Are Social Deal Sites (Groupon) Worth It?

“Social shopping” is gaining in popularity right now. Through web sites like Living Social and Groupon, it is possible to get discounts on different products and services in your local area. Social deal web sites send you tips about which deals are available, and then you can go spend money, getting up to half off — or more — on different items.

One of the questions you have to ask yourself as you sign up for Living Social, Groupon or any other social deal site is this: Am I really saving money? Or are you just looking for a reason to spend it?

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 Frugal Living 
54
comments

4 Things You Shouldn’t Be Cheap About

When I say you shouldn’t be cheap about something, I don’t mean you should pay through the nose. You should be prudent. Shop around, get several quotes or prices, and then buy at a favorable rate.

The tricky thing about pricing and quality is that they’re not necessarily correlated. We intuitively think that something that is more expensive is of higher quality (the Chivas Regal effect). That was probably true a hundred years ago until savvy marketers realized they could charge more for an inferior product because the higher price sent otherwise absent signals of quality. So while I say you shouldn’t be “cheap” about something, I don’t mean you should spend top dollar. You should be savvy and spent as much time as you need to make the smart purchase.

So, what should you avoid being cheap about?

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 Frugal Living 
54
comments

Frugal Ideas I’ve Always Wanted to Try

One of the really fascinating parts of the recession is the effect it has had on news stories. During the boom, mainstream media focused heavily on the excesses of those who had money. You had stories of the most expensive wine or the most expensive dessert. There were stories about luxury cars and of fantastic mansions on enormous estates. Nowadays, the stories are focused on more pedestrian subjects. They’re focused on people who grow gardens on their deck or raise chickens in the city. I find those stories infinitely more interesting because it shows our creativity and our resourcefulness, not our ability to write a check or swipe a card.

The stories that share tips on reducing electricity are great – I try to use as many of the tips as I can to reduce our own bills. The stories about how to drive more efficiently are even better, who doesn’t like saving money at the pump. However, there are some ideas out there that fall in the category of “cool I’d like to try that” but I have yet to try. This is a post about those ideas (and why I have yet to try them).

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 Personal Finance 
12
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PFBlogger Spotlight: Jason of Frugal Dad

I’ve decided to bring back an oldie but goodie, the personal finance blogger spotlight interview series. Long time readers of Bargaineering will recognize the PFBlogger Spotlight series as I’ve interviewed quite a few bloggers in the last few years. Today I have the joy of introducing you to Jason of Frugal Dad, a site “created for the average family to find financial resources with a [financially] conservative slant.”

I’m a fan of Jason’s blog because, despite its name, it is about more than frugality. Frugality is merely a tool towards overcoming debt and life’s other financial challenges. I hope, after this interview, you’ll gain a little more insight into what he’s about and why that makes his site so good.

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 Cars 
34
comments

Best Used Cars for College Students

Beater Used CarI never had a car in college and I never really wanted one because our student IDs doubled as free bus passes (the cost was rolled into our student fees). In fact, there were only a handful of occasions where I really wanted a car and those were cases where the bus ride would take an hour and a half (from CMU to Monroeville, which is really just a 20 minute care ride away!). I was fortunate to live in a city where public transportation was pretty good, but what about colleges where the public transportation isn’t as good or where you need a car just to get to class? You need a reliable used car.

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