Enjoy and have a good weekend!
Enjoy and have a good weekend!
Kathryn Vercillo asks this question and lists 17 signs that you may have gone too far with your frugality. Like almost any behavior, frugality can become an obsession, so it’s best to be moderate and sensible with it. Here are a few that caught our attention.
1. You spend many, many hours a week on frugality. Whether it’s clipping coupons or re-working your household budget, frugality takes time. If you’re spending more time on being frugal than enjoying your family, you may want to re-evaluate the situation. Remember that your time is worth money! If you feel too busy and don’t have time to do the things that you want to do in life, you may be spending too much time on living frugally.
6. You hate being frugal but feel like you have to. If you resent the activities that you’re engaging in to be frugal, you’re not living a high quality of life. Consider making other frugal choices that you do enjoy. There are many different ways to be frugal; it should be something that you enjoy doing.
9. You never treat yourself to something indulgent. It’s important to spoil ourselves now and then. You shouldn’t constantly go without because you want to be frugal. Of course, your indulgences should be few and far between and worked into a smart budget, but they should definitely still be a part of your life.
16. Money is all that you talk about. If you can’t have conversations about other interests in life, it’s possible that frugality has become an obsession instead of just a tool to improve your life.
We’d like to hear your thoughts, post in the comments section or on Facebook.
Groupon launched in November, 2008 and in little over two years has become perhaps the fastest growing company ever. By now, I’m sure most of our frugally minded followers have heard of the group buying phenomenon, but have you jumped on the bandwagon yet?
To start, how do group buying sites work?
The merchant agrees to offer customers a specific product or service at a greatly discounted rate (usually 50% off or more) if the group buying website can generate more than the specified minimum number of sales chosen by the merchant. Once the minimum number of sales is reached, the deal becomes activated and all the customers that signed up for the deal become eligible. Eligible customers’ credit cards are charged for the purchase and they receive an email for a printable voucher that is used to redeem the deal with the merchant. For example, a typical daily deal may include $100 worth of services from a merchant for only $50.
The deals are tailored toward specific locations, generally larger cities at this point. Groupon has received the most attention so far but there dozens of other companies in the space that are worth checking out.
Living Social – Unlike Groupon, they don’t require a minimum number of orders before you can take advantage of the deal. After you purchase the deal, you’re provided a link to share, and if three people purchase through it you get the deal for free, so the social aspect can be very beneficial.
Tippr – With Tippr, you get the choice of three deals per city on each day. They offer ‘Accelerated Deals’ so the more people that buy, the deeper the discount which creates an incentive to share the deal amongst your friends.
8coupons – They aggregate all the deals from many group buying site and allow you to search them by neighborhood.
BuyWithMe – Launched in NYC, they’re much like GroupOn with an added focus on social features and community.
SocialBuy – Like BuyWithMe, they focus on community and bringing people together to experience the deals.
Just to show how explosive the growth has been with group buying, there’s an active secondary market at places CoupRecoup and lifesta where you can get further discounts and exchange coupons purchased on group buying sites.
Before you jump into group buying, you’ll want to make sure you understand how each site works, so be sure you read the fine print. Also, don’t expect refunds, generally the sales are final. And of course, don’t be lazy and forget to refund your coupon.
If you’d like a more extensive guide, ToMuse has a great How-to and FAQ guide that’s worth reviewing.
If you’re an active group buyer, please share your experience and tips in the comment section or on Facebook. We’ll update this post with the best of them.
You’ve probably noticed that gas prices have been creeping up the last few weeks due to the increasing instability in the Middle East. Since we have no idea when the situation might stabilize again, we should expect prices to continue to rise and fluctuate. Given we’re still in a tough economy, even these small increases could really hurt in the wallet, so what are some tips for saving money at the gas pump?
Make sure that you’re staying on schedule with your oil and air filter changes, as well as other standard maintenance that’s recommended for your model.
According to FTC.gov, keeping your car tuned as according to the owner’s manual can increase gas mileage by 4% on average. Changing your oil when it’s due is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to help, because dirty oil leads to increased friction in the engine. [via Savings.com]
Plan ahead and try to cut out unnecessary trips to the grocery store and other destinations. These small trips can add up and can easily be reduced with a bit of planning.
You can also sit down with your family and friends and develop a carpooling strategy. Not only will you save on gas but you’ll be gaining valuable social time with those close to you. For the more socially adventurous you can find strangers to carpool with on Craigslist or eRideshare.
Instead of driving to the mall, shop online.
According to a recent study by Carnegie Melon’s Green Institute, shopping online saves an average of 35-percent in gas consumption. Next time you’re seeking a new pair of trousers, shop online to cut down on fuel costs. Those who prefer to avoid delivery charges can find plenty of free shipping coupons, which offer deals for popular stores like JCPenney,Verizon, Home Depot & Dell. [via Freeshipping.com]
Apps are everywhere these days and new one called GasBuddy helps you find the lowest prices in your area.
Here’s how it works: go to GasBuddy and enter your ZIP code. You’ll get a list of all of the gas stations in your area and what they are charging for regular, midgrade, premium and diesel fuels. You can also see the trends for your area for the last week, month and year. [via mnn.com]
What tips do you have? Please feel free to share in the comment section or on Facebook.
Happy Friday. The Carters offer an inspiring story about transforming into a frugal lifestyle.
Every frugal minded individual knows the value in clipping coupons, but what other ways can you save a few dollars at the grocery store? We were curious so we searched around and found 5 rather simple tips to remember when you’re stocking up on groceries.
It can be intimidating and bit scary but these days store brands have come a long way in terms of quality. It’s best to experiment with simple, staple items at first before moving on to other products. Frugal Families has an excellent post on ‘How to Choose Generics or Store Brands.’
The grocery store tempts us with a bevy of prepared entrees but we pay for that convenience. BlogHer states the importance of buying ‘real food.’
To save money, to be frugal grocery shoppers, this is all we’re going to buy. Much ‘real food’ is one ingredient long. Lettuce. Carrots. Milk. Chicken. It’s an ingredient. It hasn’t been cooked by a company. It likely doesn’t have a brand name and a promotion budget. It’s real food, it’s ‘whole food’. It’s at the bottom of the dinner chain.
Cooking can be challenging but if you get into a routine and make sure your fridge is stocked with leftovers, then each meal becomes significantly less of a chore. Of course, you can also make it fun and learn how to make different dishes by exploring new recipes. The web offers endless recipes and cooking tips. RecipesToday offers some excellent tips for ‘Cutting Cooking Costs.
Meat can get expensive, especially if it’s included in every meal. Plus, we all probably eat too much meat than is healthy for us, so why not pick one night out of the week and designate it vegetarian night? Sure, cooking vegetarian meals can be challenging but with a little research you can find plenty of options.
Soda, juice, coffee, tea and all those other drinks tend to add up not only in calories but also on your grocery bill. If you get into the habit skipping out on buy beverages, you’ll start to notice a steady decrease in your grocery bill. We all know the importance of drinking water, but in case you need a reminder, the Mayo Clinic provides an excellent overview on the health benefits of drinking water.
If you’d like more tips and tricks, these articles are great resources.
A January poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) indicated that %66 of the respondents were tired of ‘pinching pennies.” Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC offered some insight.
“Even though the recession is technically over, that textbook definition isn’t being felt in American households. The interesting finding is that more than 20 percent of those weighing in said they had implemented financial lifestyle changes that they found to be positive and intended to keep them in place.”
So it seems that while many are suffering frugal fatigue, there’s a good percentage that are embracing a new frugal lifestyle permanently. If you are suffering from frugal fatigue, The Bellingham Herald offers up some good tips.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication: Continue to keep up with those simple frugal lifestyle practices that are easy to maintain — purchasing generic items, clipping coupons before heading to the grocery store, buying in bulk, enjoying free community entertainment, and using the library as resource for free books, movies, and internet service.
While finding simplicity is one way to go, creativity is also another option and the PostCrescent offers up some excellent ideas.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at the University of California Riverside, suggests that spending money on personal growth, like a cooking class or music lessons, tends to make us happier. Spending money on lots of little things that please us means we experience feelings of happiness many times, rather than just once.
As we can see there are options for fighting frugal fatigue without reverting to previous bad habits. Chuck Jaffe of MarketWatch compares it to being on a diet.
Over time, the hope is that even people feeling some measure of frugal fatigue will find a way to address it with some measure of responsibility. It’s akin to someone on a diet who is able to have a piece of cake now and then; they just can’t have a slice at every meal.
I’m sure in the coming weeks we’ll hear more about frugal fatigue and how Americans are dealing with it, but we want to hear your thoughts now. What do you think? Are you suffering from frugal fatigue? How are coping? Do you have any suggestions?
Of course we could just turn to the dictionary to answer this question but that would be kind of boring. Besides, we all have our own interpretations for what it means to be frugal. The Dollar Stretcher has a nice round up of how different people define being frugal. It’s something to think about if you get a few quiet moments during the weekend.
One of my favorite responses comes from JD in St. Louis.
A reasonable explanation of “being frugal” is making the best use of all your resources, including money, time, possessions, etc. This does not rule out a night on the town as relationships need to be made the best “use” of too, and that means maintaining the relationship at a good level. If a cup of Starbucks is on your daily agenda, you can afford it, and you can pay your bills and otherwise take care of your assets, then you can still qualify as frugal. No one else can really define it for you. If I make the best use of all my assets, keep my debt in check, and take care of the people, places, and things in my life, then I’m frugal.
We want to hear your thoughts. How do you define being frugal? Share in the comments section and we’ll post our favorite responses. Have a great weekend!
You’re proud of your frugal ways and all the freebies you acquire over the internet, but inevitably you’ll run into a friend or colleague who just can’t help themselves and will call you cheap, or worse, a cheapskate. While your first impulse maybe to smack them across the head, that’s probably not the most prudent response, so we’ve developed 5 responses that you can use if you ever find yourself in this situation.
You can politely tell the individual lobbing the insults that the politically correct term is frugal. It might even be wise to memorize the exact definition and recite it: frugal is characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources.
Sometimes it takes cold hard numbers to convince people of anything, so a good retort would be to let the person know exactly how much money you save per month through your frugal living. They may even be so impressed that they’ll end up asking you for tips within a few days.
Once you start to list all the freebies you’ve acquired over the year they’ll start to re-consider throwing around the word cheap. While nothing is ever completely free, once you know the system and where to look, there’s a bounty of freebies to be had everyday.
Since they’re not watching what they spend, when they finally get that week off of work they’ll end up at home instead of sipping pina colada’s on the beach. You on the other hand, will have wisely saved your pennies, and probably found some great bargains to exotic locations where the sun always shines and those pina colada’s flow all day long.
Sure, the recent economic crisis may have made frugality a buzzword but it’s moved beyond that and become a lifestyle and a movement. You reject wasteful spending and take pride in your frugal living and freebie finding ways. So yeah, you’re ok with being called cheap.
So, there you have it. 5 responses for when someone calls you cheap. Of course, if you’re not in the mood to defend your frugal ways you can always strategically place your middle finger in the upward position.