Frugal Tips Archive

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Save Money: You DON’T Need to Change Your Car’s Oil Every 3,000

According to CTWatchdog.com, oil chemistry and engine technology has come a long way.

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Be Frugal AND Earth Friendly: 22 Things You Can Do for Earth Day and Beyond

It’s time once again for that annual celebration of all things green. Earth Day is nearly upon us and, while many people offer advice on being kind to Mother Earth, too many of these tips don’t quite coincide with frugal lifestyles. In an effort to dovetail these two purposes, we offer 22 budget-friendly ways to go green in honor of April 22.

1. Sign up for the “no solicitation” registry.
That way, you can avoid getting credit card offers and other ads which will reduce paper clutter and save trees.

2. Shop online to reduce your carbon footprint and save money.
According to a study by Carnegie Melon’s Green Institute, shopping online reduced carbon emissions by 35 percent. The abundance of online coupons from such sites as FreeShipping.org makes this green practice a no-brainer.

3. Get out of the gym and exercise outdoors.
Freeze your gym membership and save up to 75 percent (or more) per month during the summer. You’ll also rely less on those energy-sucking cardio machines.

 

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A Post on Frugal Gardening and Freebies from Yesterday You May Have Missed

In order to keep my email feed working properly, I have to limit the amount of posts to 20. This sometimes causes a problem because I write more than 20 posts in a 24 hour period. When that happens, I like to let you know what you may have missed because the information didn’t appear in yesterday’s daily email.

 

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Frugal Gardening: How to Tame Weeds

In the picture above,

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How to Effectively Use Your Freezer to Save Money

 

When I teach couponing classes, I talk about how important it is to build up a stockpile of items you use regularly so you never need to pay full price for those items.

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Freebies for the Family

This article was originally published last October.  However, with summer just around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to re-post it.

Can you believe it’s October already? Pretty soon we’ll be buying turkeys and thinking about our shopping lists for the holidays. This time of year, it’s difficult to find extra money to do fun family things when you know you’ll have to save for holiday foods and presents. Wouldn’t it be great to find a way to go on family outings and not worry about money?

Believe it or not, your local libraries (Meriden, Southington, and Wallingford) are the key to no cost family fun. You can borrow passes to museums like Mystic Seaport, Kid City, the Imagination Museum, and the Discover Museum and Planetarium, as well as many more. These passes are there for you and your family to borrow at no cost. Although you can’t reserve the passes ahead of time, the library will hold them for up to two hours on the day you request them. You also have two days to use the passes.

Say, for example, you want to visit Mystic Seaport with your family. Tickets cost $24 per adult and $15 per child between the ages of 6 and 17. If you visit the museum with two adults and two children, the cost to you would be $78. If you instead borrowed the library pass for Mystic Seaport, which admits up to two adults and three children, the cost would be $0!!!! That’s an amazing savings!

Libraries also have passes that guarantee you a reduced admission price. You can visit the Peabody Museum, Mystic Aquarium, or the Roger Williams Zoo for a reduced price. Library passes will get you $5 off admission at the Peabody Museum, $6 off adult admission and $4 off child admission at Mystic Aquarium, and a $3 discount for all tickets at the Roger Williams Zoo.

Although Southington, Meriden, and Wallingford libraries offer these great passes to their communities, not all libraries do. However, you do not have to be a resident of these towns to partake in this service. If you have a valid driver’s license, you can reserve the museum passes at any library in the state that offers them.

 

Museum passes are just one of the many freebies and opportunities your local library offers. To find out more, please visit your library’s website or drop in for a visit. I’m sure you’ll be glad you did!

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Even Without Coupons, You Can Still Save Money At the Grocery Store

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Using coupons has become more and more popular lately because of our crummy economy. Although I personally feel coupons are an excellent resource for stretching my money, many people don’t really want to bother with coupons for one reason or another. In light of this, I have nine easy tips that will help save you money at the grocery store, even without using coupons

 

  1. Only buy what is on sale. Just sticking to this one simple rule will save you hundreds on your groceries every year.

  2. Plan meals around what is on sale and what you have in your freezer or pantry, not what you want to eat. Although this concept seems like a “no brainer”, many people create their shopping lists around what they would like to eat for the week and then go shopping. Often, this practice leads to spending more money because what is being bought isn’t on sale.
  3. Take time to plan your meals each week. Meal planning is an excellent way to reduce your grocery costs. Take the time to assess what you have in stock at home and then plan meals in advance. Even if you plan out just half of your weekly meals, you’ll save time and money because you won’t be running to the grocery store for last minute items, which often swells your monthly food budget.
  4. Buy extra when you shop. If you are a family who eats pasta once a week, for example, buy more than one box of pasta when it’s on sale. This way, you won’t have pay full price the next time. Recently, Swiss cheese was on sale at my grocery store for only $2.99/lb. Because my family eats lots of Swiss cheese, I bought three pounds, which was the maximum amount I could buy. To make it easy on myself, I had the deli person package the cheese into half pound units. I then froze all but one of the packages. For the next few weeks, I won’t have to pay full price for the cheese because I have 5 more packages in my freezer.
  5. Make extra when you cook. If you have to cook anyway, there’s very little additional effort needed to double the amount you cook. Making extra food can be a frugal endeavor in two ways. First, you can take the leftovers for lunch and cut down on the more expensive lunch items such as deli meat. Second, you can make enough extra to freeze for another meal at a later date. Then, on the days you don’t feel like cooking or are short on time, you have a complete meal that only needs to be defrosted. 
  6. Shop like a man, not like a woman. For the most part, women like to browse and look at everything when they go grocery shopping, whereas men get what they need and get the heck out of Dodge. Grocery stores, just like any retail store, want you to buy as much as possible. There are pretty displays and end caps enticing you with products you really don’t need. How many times have you walked into a grocery store for bread and milk, and brought home three or four bags of groceries? It’s best to put your blinders on and get only what is on your shopping list.

  7. Make a shopping list and stick to it! Going to the grocery store without a list is like fighting a war without a battle plan. Without a shopping list, you are susceptible to overbuying. Having a list keeps you on track and focused.

  8. Buy bread at bakery outlet stores. Bread is a relatively expensive item at the grocery store. Some of the heartier whole grain varieties can be more than $4 per loaf. Take trip to your local bread outlet store such as Freihoffer’s or Wonder to purchase bakery products for as little as $1 per item.

  9. Buy staple items such as flour, sugar, butter, milk, and eggs at a warehouse store. For the most part, staple items tend to be much less expensive at warehouse stores such as Costco and BJ’s. Because the warehouse stores buy in such huge quantities, they get products for less and pass that savings on to the consumer.

 

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How to Save for College or Get Amazon.com Gift Cards/Cash When You Do Your Regularly Weekly Shopping

dollar sign Pictures, Images and Photos

I have a philosophy about shopping and most everything else that goes something like this:

“If I am going to do something anyway, I might as well get something extra out of it.”

Let’s face it.  I go to the grocery store and drug stores at least once every week. Sometimes, I go multiple times if there’s  good sale.  Wouldn’t it be nice if I could save for college or get cash/gift cards just for doing my normal, everyday shopping?  Guess what?  There is!

There are two ways you can accrue money while doing your everyday shopping.  First is a program called Upromise.  With UPromise, you register your store courtesy cards (I registered every one I have) and then select the coupons you want. I always select all the coupons because I just don’t know if I will use them. It doesn’t hurt and takes very little time. (After you click on the coupons, make sure you hit “activate my coupons” on the right side of the page.) The coupons automatically get downloaded onto all your store cards and are activated when you shop. When you shop, you earn money for college. For example, say you buy Bounty paper towels. If there is a .50 coupon for Bounty towels at Upromise, download the coupon and then buy paper towels. Fifty cents goes into an account for college. You can still use regular coupons as well, so it’s not like you’re missing out on getting good deals. I don’t have any kids in college right now, but I signed myself up. I don’t have any real plans to go back to school, but I’m thinking my niece or nephews might be able to use this money in a few years. If you don’t want to give the money to someone for college, you also have the option of transferring the money over to a savings account or requesting a check.

The second way you can save is through a new website called SavingStar.com.  Like UPromise, you can register all your grocery and drug store courtesy cards and download coupons onto them.  The only difference is you can opt to purchase Amazon gift cards with your money in addition to having the money saved to your bank account.  This is a fabulous way to pay for some of your holiday shopping.  Just buy groceries and request Amazon gift cards from SavingsStar.

Because neither UPromise or SavingsStar prohibits you from using paper coupons at check out, this is a win-win situation for you and me.  Not only are we limiting the money we pay for food and toiletries with paper coupons, we’re  saving money for college or earning gift cards.  How cool is that?

 

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Saving Bread on Bread

I have to be honest and say I shudder at how expensive bread can be. I can’t believe that “good bread” – the kind with whole grains, seeds, etc. – can run as much as $4 at the grocery store.

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