This is a guest post from Theresa - If you would like to guest post, please let me know.

I came across a great site called Cheap Eats. Their recipes are just wonderful tasting and meals fit only "for a King" but at the price affordable for a "pauper", if we were in those past days. But for today's standards, these are fantastic prices and showing frugalness and savings in one of it's top forms. They even have a handy 3 dollars or less area as well.

So, for your enjoyment and perhaps wanting to try them, here are a couple of recipes that I borrowed from the site.

Clam Spaghetti - total cost of $2.97
2 3.5 oz pouches of baby clams — $2. 00
2 tbsp e.v. olive oil — $0.10
3-4 cloves minced garlic — $0.07
1/2 lb dry spaghetti / spaghettini — $0.50
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley — $0.051
1/2 cup chicken stock — $0.15
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese - $0.10
red pepper flakes — optional salt, pepper, water - negligible

Get a pot of water for the spaghetti going on high. Mince up the parsley and set aside. Mince the garlic and set that aside. Open the pouches and drain the clams, reserving the liquids.

Wait until water boils, then add the dry spaghetti. Start melting the butter in the olive oil in a skillet on medium. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the reserved clam liquid and chicken stock and simmer for 3-5 minutes. (Keep and eye on the spaghetti so it doesn't get overcooked!) Some people also put in a few tablespoons of Chardonnay or other white wine as well. If you do so, add that first and make sure to cook it out before adding the chicken stock and clam juice.

Add the clams to the skillet (do NOT cook this for too long). When the spaghetti is al dente, take it out with tongs and put it directly into the pan. Then whack the parsley in there along with the parm cheese and salt/pepper to taste. If it's too dry, add a bit of the pasta cooking water. Toss it a bit and serve. A delightful meal!


Ghetto McMuffins - total cost of 62 cents
1 english muffin — $0.25
1-2 eggs — $0.15
1/2 - 1 hotdog — $0.12
1 slice cheese, optional — $0.10
pepper, optional
Cut the english muffin in half and put it in the toaster set for extra crispy. Meanwhile, beat the egg(s) lightly in a small bowl. Throw in pepper if you like. Cut up the hotdog into chunks. Get a medium fire under a small (8-9 inch is fine) non stick omelette pan going. At some point you might want to put a bit of oil in the pan but you'll find that you can avoid it for non-stick pans.

Cook the hot dogs until slightly browned. Distribute them across the bottom of the pan and pour in the egg(s). Lower the fire. Stir a bit with a spatula. Let it set up a bit, a few minutes. You can cover it to speed it along.

When the top is nearly cooked, get a rubber spatula and cut the scramble down the middle. Here, you can insert a slice of cheese or whatever you want on each semi-circle. Fold the egg semi-circle over so it's a quarter-circle.

Put each quarter-circle on a toasted english muffin half. This makes 2 open face McMuffins, or close it up for a gigantic McMuffin.
Yummmm!!! A delightful breakfast meal for the kids…And adults too!

So, please be sure to take a moment to browse Cheap Eats and you just may find how delighted you'll be in finding recipes that will assist you in being more cost-saving, as well as easily made and delicious meals - from breakfast to dinner entrees, from appetizers to desserts. A fine example of a simple and frugal way of life.

If you have any other sites that have cost-saving recipes, let us know in the comments area or email me. Thanks

Today while I was at work, a woman came into to send 6 thousands dollars to a man in Nigeria for real estate she was going to buy. It seemed like a scam to me considering all the scams that come from Nigeria, but she seemed determined to invest her money in this property, site unseen anyway.

The sayings that are out there, like: "If it seems to be to good to be true, if probably is" or "Buyer beware" come to mind when I think of buying real estate site unseen or getting jobs that are sent via email.

The has some good words of wisdom when it comes to specifically looking for jobs - some good info at the site.

# Employer e-mails are rife with grammatical and spelling errors -
Job postings with grammatical errors seem like a give away to me as spellchecker is a common tool online now.

# E-mails purporting to be from job posting Web sites claiming there’s a problem with a job hunter’s account-
Fraud websites phish for your information to gather data on you or even install malicious spyware on your computer.

# An employer asks for extensive personal information such as social security or bank account numbers -
This is a huge red flag to me, I would much rather give this information in person and only if I am sure the job is a guarantee; like setting up my w-2 forms

# An employer offers the opportunity to become rich without leaving home-
Even though there is the occasional good job out there can be worked from home, this to me falls under the "too good to be true" idea.

# An employer asks for money upfront -
Via "Aside from paying for a uniform, it is rarely advisable for an applicant to pay upfront fees or make a required purchase to get a job."

# The salary and benefits offered seem too-good-to-be-true -

# The job requires the employee to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram-
I think the final two items are the biggest red lights to me, if the job offer makes me scowl and say "Hmmmm?" I am on guard.

However, there are some good jobs out there and Clark Howard and CNN both put together a few, with some overlapping.

CNN - Companies that will hire you to work at home. They list Alpine Access, Convergys, Extended Presence, Internet Girl Friday, LiveOps, Spheris, Staffcentrix, West At Home, Voicelog and VIPDesk

Clark Howard - Work from Home options are: alpineaccess,,,,, and There are others as well.

But I want to let you know that some of these jobs fall in the's idea of a red flag in that they ask for money upfront and for background checks so I would do much more research on those websites if you are interested.

I have found money through a couple of times. One year I got a $15 check from an old utility company that I hadn't used in over 5 years and recently I got money back (over $100) from the state on a payment I made 10 years ago. So surprises do pop-up enough that I check every year to see if there is anything 'lost' that has my name on it.

$ - supported by 40 of 50 states to find lost money through your State. If your state isn't listed also try NAUPA's Web site . They deal with money, jewelry, and property. Also try the common mis-spellings of your name as well.

$$ Tax Refunds – Can you believe there are people who forgot they had a refund? You should be receiving your refund 28 days after the date you sent in your taxes. Go to Where's My Refund to find out if you have some moolah from an earlier year waiting for you. You will need your social security number, filing status and the amount of refund. If you don't know the amount call 1-800-829-4477

$$$ TreasuryHunt - Run by the Treasury Department it is the perfect place to see if your old savings bonds have matured yet. They say that over 14 million dollars in matured savings bonds are waiting to be redeemed by their owners. If you no longer have any savings bonds, you can contact them through the site by giving your name and social security number so they can look it up. It can take up to 4 weeks to get the information back, via regular mail only.

$$$$ Pensions – I'm not surprised if people are not aware they may have money coming from a company that they worked for, some companies just don't promote their pensions well enough. You may be eligible for a pension from a company that was bought out by another company or if the company went bankrupt. You can check if you get some of the 75 million dollars that is unclaimed by check out the PBGC database.


And if you have an old FHA refund coming to you, do your check here: HUD Refunds

As an added bonus you can check to see if a student, veteren, single parent or disaster survivor may be qualified to get some additional 'free money' help. The paperwork can be a pain in the neck, but if you qualify it can be welcomed assistance.

I love to dumpster dive and not just the outside, but also picking around inside the big green monster, poking around with a stick and grabbing what appeals to me. Over time I have picked up dressers, sofas, recliners, table and chairs, drill bits, ladder, side-tables, lamps, housewares, clothing and toys to name only a few. Of course if you prefer the curb crawling only, that is fine as well.

And if you are new to all of this curb picking and garbage treasure hunting and unsure where to start. Here are some rules that I live by:

  1. Leave the place looking better than when you found it
  2. NEVER take anything that can cause an identity to be stolen. If you found something, rip it up into tiny pieces.
  3. Dress the part. Wear grubby clothes, solid shoes or boots, gloves and a flashlight are good and bring a poking stick.
  4. Make sure you have appropriate transportation. It is hard to bring home the rocking chair on a bicycle.
  5. If you are handy with fixing stuff, bring it home. If not, leave it there as it will probably just clutter your place up.
  6. Check for water damage on furniture.
  7. Have a place in mind for the item. Don't bring stuff home thinking you might use it.
  8. Stop by immediately if you see something of interest. Don't wait, it will be gone. I have learned many a lesson on this
  9. Don't dive in business areas during business hours. Even though it may be legal in your area, it makes the business look bad and they may call the cops just to scare you off.
  10. If you happen to meet up with another diver, be kind. It isn't anyone's territory as you both may be looking for different things.
  11. Dumpster diving is only limited by you. Some are ok with diving for food and others are not.

One of the things I am learning about frugalizing my life is the definition for value depending on the item I want or need, amount of money or the time I need to take to do something. Below are a few ways to look at the value of time and money.

Baby steps to the frugal, debt free life : "I decided to list the baby steps that dug us out of the crazy debt hole that we had buried ourselves in. When faced with the amount of debt and the prospect of having to give up much of one’s way of life, this all can be overwhelming to the point of wanting to just crawl under a rock and die."

Why The Compact Is A Shrewd Investment : "When I tell people that I do The Compact, (buy nothing new) they seem to assume that I am filling my house with tons of second-hand junk. Nothing could be farther from the truth.It is because I do only buy used, that I can afford to fill my home with wonderful high-end antiques."

Which clothing merchants really cater to customers? : "In the December issue of Consumer Reports, we ranked 39 major Internet clothing sellers, based on 25,565 reader judgments of value, quality, fit, selection, and ease of ordering. In looking over the list, I decided to compare the return policies of the Web merchants that readers said offered the best combination of quality and bang for their buck."

Murrysville Woman Beats Wal-Mart In Court Over $2 Error : "Bach said she sued because she alerted management about the error but the price scan was not corrected on her subsequent visits to the store.
Though the $100 award is relatively minor, Bach said it's not the money that's important to her.

When I have a full gallon of milk I pour myself a full glass without thinking, but when the milk jug has less than half of the gallon left, I pour myself just enough to quench my thirst.

The same goes for the car in my gas tank, I don't worry about my driving habits until the gas tank drops below the half-way mark, then suddenly I am the epitome of a gas conscious driver. Even though I can make more milk or grab more gas, I still try to lengthen the life of the last bit.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I have a 'scarcity' switch that kicks on telling me to make it last. But that switch doesn't seem to kick on when I have just pulled out a just filled up the gas tank or made the milk, nope, not until I am down to a the last little bit.

I realize it is a retraining of brain. When my family would go to grandmother's house she would rinse the paper towels and the paper plates and let them hang to dry for use later. Even though she would have a pile of plates getting dusty in the cupboard or a 6 pack of paper towels in the basement she could still use, her scarcity switch was on most all the time.

For her, the retraining of her brain was due to the depression era, in my opinion. She always said it was just because she was Scottish. Either way, she had looked at the things around her and saw that no matter how much she had, she wanted to make they lasted and found ways to keep using them until she couldn't any longer, even though she had an abundance stored away.

Sometimes I wonder if it is easier or harder to live with the 'scarcity' switch. I certainly don't romanticize the depression or the idea of constantly living with scant food and things. But I do think that the reality check of 'what if' can be useful even with an abundance.

However the downside to that is if your scarcity switch never turns off you could live in a very cluttered home.

Eventually their has to be some balance to this switch. just like you flip the switch to the room light on when you need and flip the switch off when you don't.

There has to be a balance found that allows you to control that scarcity switch and that comes with time, practice and maybe even a few reminders from others. Just like learning to flip the light switch off.

Although this next bit of info isn't technically frugal, it may save you some money by wasting less.

The actual term "Expiration Date" refers to the last date a food should be eaten or used. Last means last -- proceed at your own risk

"Sell by" date: This tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires. This is basically a guide for the retailer, so the store knows when to pull the item. This is not mandatory, so reach in back and get the freshest. The "sell by" date is the last day the item is at its highest level of quality, but it will still be edible for some time after.

"Born on" date: This is the date of manufacture that has been resurrected recently to date beer and soda pop. These drinks can go bad after three months.

"Guaranteed fresh" date: This usually refers to bakery items. They will still be edible after the date, but will not be at peak freshness.

"Use by" date: This is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The manufacturer of the product has determined this date.

"Pack" date: You will find this one on canned or packaged goods, as a rule, but it's tricky. In fact, it may be in code. You may find it best to call the manufacturer for how good it is.

Addendum: Consumerist has a very large [and slightly frightening] spreadsheet for expiration DATE codes based on manufacturer

This is a list of ways to save about $30 a month or a dollar a day. If you can do a couple of these, then you can save even more, like 60 or 90.00 a month .

Cutting down on what you have:
1 Cancel TV service or downgrade to a plan that saves at least $30 a month
2 Cut out buying one soda or coffee a day – make or bring your own
3 Downgrade/Cancel cell phone or landline service
4 Cut out one or two meals eating out
5 Lower your utility use (use cold water more, lower thermostat in the winter, raise it in the summer, etc)
6 Cut back on a bad habit – reduce smoking by ½ packs, buy fewer drinks when going out, cut the lottery buys down
7> Trade down in car or home and bank the difference you've made
8> Figure out what you pay for gas each month, drive one day less a week and at the end of the month bank the difference

Adding to what you already do:
9 Round up in your checkbook to the next dollar amount – bank the extra money at the end of the month
10 Use coupons and consider them money – every coupon used (or doubled) means you put that amount away
11 Find more and don't spend rebate checks, cash back refunds, etc
12 Found money in washer/street gets saved
13 Borrow from the library when the urge to buy comes up – put that money away
14 Bring lunch to work- calculate what you normally spend on lunch and save that amount
15 Buy generic and save the difference – keep a pen and paper with you to figure the savings
16 Check around to make sure you are getting the best deal for insurance – the difference goes into savings
17 Call credit card companies to get a lower interest rate – calculate the saving for the lower interest rate based on what you owe, divide by 12 and put that amount away each month
18 Write checks for over the amount instead of paying bank fees
19 Rent a movie instead of going to the theater and put the difference into savings
20 Stop off at the thrift store to find what you need before spending money at the department store
21 Sit down and do a budget- find out how much is going out from what is coming in and cut back on the areas that you are spending to much

Make money to put away:
22 Sell items in your house
23 Resell items picked up from yard sales or sell for family/friends and take a commision
24 Pick up trash, fix it up and sell it
25 Bank your raise- right there can be the whole year's worth of savings (~360$)
26 Bank your refund check from the IRS- Since you already are living on less
27 Offer to do odd jobs for neighbors/friends that you already do for yourself
28 Sell textbooks back – even if you've found them from the dumpster
29 Sell an old cell phone
30 Sell your expertise in tutoring, shopping for others or giving instructions on hobbies

There are my thirty ideas, what ideas do you have?

I came across these great tips, originally from the (not archived). I thought they were well worth posting since the next major issue may be one of water.

A dripping tap could waste as much as 24 gallons a week.

Brushing your teeth with the tap running wastes almost 9 quarts a minute. Rinse out from a cup instead.

Cool water kept in the fridge means you won't have to run the tap for ages to get a cold drink.

Don't use your washing machine until you've got a full load to wash.

Every time you boil an egg save the cooled water for your houseplants. They'll benefit from the nutrients released from the shell.

Fit a water saving device in your cistern and save up to 3 quarts a flush.

Grow your grass a little longer. It will stay greener than a close mown lawn and need less watering.

Hoeing stimulates the growth of plants, reduces water loss from the soil surface and removes weeds that take up valuable water and nutrients.

Installing a water meter can save you water and money by monitoring how much you use.

Just taking a five minute shower, instead of a bath, will use a third of the water, saving up to 100 gallons a week.

Kettles (pots and pans) should be filled with enough water for your needs but not to the brim. This will reduce your fuel bills too.

Lag (cover) your pipes to avoid bursts and leave your heating on a low setting while you are out in cold weather to prevent pipes freezing.

Mulch for moisture in the garden. Adding a layer of tree bark, compost, coconut husks or even newspaper keeps the sun off the soil and retains precious moisture.

No further watering is usually required for established trees and shrubs.

Once a week is all the watering your lawn needs even in the hottest weather. Over-watering can weaken your lawn by encouraging roots to seek the surface.

Purchasing a water barrel will help you to collect rain water for use on the garden.

Question your local garden centre about the water requirements of different plants. Some thrive in drier conditions.

Replacing a toilet cistern can save water. Toilets manufactured after 1993 use less water per flush.

Sprinklers can be wasteful. It doesn't take long for a sprinkler to soak your lawn thoroughly. A sprinkler can use as much water in an hour as a family of four will use in a day!

Trigger nozzles can save water by using it only when needed. This can save up to 59 gallons a week.

Use the dirty water when cleaning a fish tank on your houseplants. It's rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, which provides an excellent fertiliser.

Very 'water efficient' washing machines and dishwashers are now manufactured. You'll find that they save on energy too. (Also check the energy star ratings and consumer reports)

Water your garden at the coolest part of the day to reduce evaporation.

Xeriscape means 'to landscape for water conservation.' The idea is to use plants that require less water. You can also utilise objects for decorative effect such as rocks, bricks, benches and gravel.

You can use less water by turning the hot tap down, rather than the cold tap up, if you require cooler water.

Z The end of the alphabet but not the end of water saving ideas. Some people think that by the end of the century we will be fighting wars over water.

Before and after my maternal grandmother passed away a couple of years ago, my mother had the joy of trying to cut down on my grandmother's junkmail. This was to lessen the burden my grandmother felt to help each and every PAC or charity that came along, but also to allow the important mail to be seen. Here is her experience.


For the last month or so, you have probably been receiving a flood of mail order catalogs for gift-buying for the holidays. It can be such a convenience to shop from the comfort of your home, with various catalogs from which to choose. Be aware, however, that with each order, you may be added to many more mailing lists. Most people are aware that companies sell their mailing lists to other companies, but sometimes they aren't aware of how prevalent the practice is. And mail order companies aren't the only sources of what we call "junk mail".

When she was alive, my mother, a generous person, enjoyed being able to make contributions to various charities and political action committees. Mom was always very sharp about financial matters, but she wasn't very discerning about which ones she was contributing to. Since it was HER MONEY, and she wasn't really incompetent, we didn't want to take legal steps to curtail her freedom to spend her own money.

My sister and I were concerned, though, that she would be taken advantage of, especially by telephone solicitors who would call and volunteer to come and pick up her check immediately. When it became available from her telephone company, we convinced her to subscribe to a screening service that refused calls from solicitors, which helped a lot. The recorded message went out to everyone who called, though, and some of Mom's older friends, who didn't hear well, thought they had gotten the wrong phone number and were frustrated by it. To accommodate them, I programmed all "preferred" callers (family & friends) into the system, so they wouldn't get the message. That made her friends happy and still screened out unwanted callers.
Solicitations received through the postal service were a different story, though. I had legal Power of Attorney, so I tried to get the post office to throw away all "bulk mail", so she wouldn't even receive it. However, they have certain rules they have to follow, and one of them is that they cannot just throw away mail, since others had paid to send it.

When I was trying to get my mother's name removed from numerous lists, I was told that many mailing lists are updated quarterly. So, if a name is removed, but the person makes additional donations, enters sweepstakes, or even orders something from a mail order catalog, the person's name will again be put on lists. So even if you succeed in getting a name removed temporarily, it takes the person's cooperation to STAY removed.

There are several places you can go, online, to get information about where to go, to get off bulk mailing lists. One is the Federal Trade Commission (Where to Go to "Just Say No"), where they give websites, phone numbers and addresses you can use to cut down on unsolicited mail, telemarketing and e-mail. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has a Direct Marketing section for Sample Letters, Do Not Call Registry and Opt-Out for Pre-approved Credit Cards.

Do-It-Yourself: Stop junk mail, email & phone calls has some techniques and a free online guide to reduce unwanted or intrusive advertising and specific types of unwanted paper mail. is also a comprehensive site, with numerous addresses to which you can write to have your name removed from lists.

For a while, to avoid spending money on stamps, writing to these places, I tried using a solicitor's own postage-paid, return envelopes to send removal notices. I don't think they accomplished the desired affect, though, maybe because they went to the solicitation or donation departments.

However, sometimes I would cut up a large part of their solicitation mail and put it in their return envelope, along with the portion containing my mother's address and a "Remove from your mailing lists and data bases" note. The hope was that the torn up mail would get their attention, causing them to "get the point" that if they didn't want to pay to have all their papers mailed back to them, they would remove her name from their lists.

You probably won't find them very often, but sometimes the solicitation material will contain an 800 number which can be used to have your name removed. More often, you might find an internet address on the solicitation, and you can use a contact link at the site to request a name removal.

When there is too much junk mail to deal with individually, go to the Direct Marketing Association for Consumer Assistance on How & Where to Find Help in getting off mailing lists, telemarketing lists, and e-mail lists.

If you want to have a little fun with a telemarketer, while being removed from their lists, go to the Junkbusters Anti-Telemarketing Script, print it out, leave it beside the phone, and refer to it when one of them calls. It turns the tables on the telemarketers, a bit.

To remove deceased individuals' names from marketing lists, there is also an online Deceased Do Not Contact form (there is a $1 charge for the service). It also tells you what you need to know before you enter sweepstakes, and information about mail and telephone orders.

You can still choose gifts from mail order catalogs, but one suggestion I read was to write in bold letters across the bottom of the order form, "Do Not Sell My Name To Any Mailing Lists". It may not do any good, but then again, it might help!

I'm not a big fan of budgets, I think it's the detailed information that drives me nuts. I like to keeps things as simple as possible and then adjust as needed. I find the following to be a wonderful way to remember how to budget:

B= Buy what you need, not what you want.
U= Use it up, wear it out or give it away
D= Don't spend what you don't have yet
G= Garage sales, thrift shops, pass downs
E= Eat at home or make it at home
T= Track your spending
S= Simplify your life

B)I'm pretty good at this, delayed gratification isn't too hard, I can put something off for months - sometimes things will just eat at me and I buy it or buy a smaller version/smaller amount.

U)I can do better at this when it comes to electronics and housewares, but I'm pretty good for clothes

D)I'm working within my means, and am proud to say things are getting better

G)No trouble here when it comes to 2nd hand stores, hard to get away from work to get to yard sales

E)No troubles here, it is a rare, exciting day when ordering food is in the budget. Lots of soups, sandwiches and leftovers

T)Like I said above, details are not my specialty but I have my own round-about way of keeping track that involves online banking, a checkbook and cash

S)I could go much simpler but I also have to share a home with my partner and I like getting along with people much more than simplifying sometimes.

Clothes can be hard to come by if you don’t have a lot of money to spend. If you want to stay frugal here are a few ideas to take with you along with your money so you don't look like.... I'm sure you can think of a few.

1. Buy Quality - Not expensive clothes necessarily, but quality clothes. Many times quality items aren’t cheap, but their brand is know for it quality. If you are unsure, ask around.

2. Shop Sales - You will want to want to wait more toward the end of the season to buy the items you need for next year. If you are missing a season or two where you live. Keep track of the sales at the stores you regularly go to.

3. Buy Classics – A good white shirt, a classic black dress, Khaki pants, etc. those things never go out of style

4. Buy Second-hand - People gain and loose weight or get tired of an item that is quality. This is where you can pick up some good stuff for pennies on the dollar. Garage sales are also good to go to as well.

5. Buy Look-alikes – If you have to have a certain watch, check out other watches that have a face similar to the more expensive one you want. They may never know, but you will know that you have more money in the bank for it.

6. Swap clothes with others – Have some friends that are about the same size as you? Have a swap time once a month to switch up your wardrobes.

7. Budget your wardrobe – Plan ahead and you will come out ahead when it comes to saving money. Impulse shopping is NEVER a good idea.

8. Choose versatile pieces - Clothing that can be worn in several ways and to several occasions make more sense, practically and financially. A fine, black top can be worn night and day, with all colors and a multitude of textures. A satin, floral patterned kimono wrap — no matter how divine — cannot.

9. Less really is more - Fewer clothes with more style should be the aim of every frugal shopper. Better a small wardrobe of high-quality, timeless and versatile pieces, than a large one crammed full of eclectic, cheap and nasty items.

10. Be the master of accessories - Accessories are an inexpensive way to add interest and style to an outfit. Woman more so than men are able to pull this off, but consider second hand belts, ties, scarves, earrings, etc.

One additional item of creativity would be to see how long you can try to wear one piece of clothing for as long as possible in as many creativity ways as possible - like the Brown Dress Project

Ask yourself a couple questions- when you go to work, where does your money go? When you get anxious over things in your life, what worries you?

These questions can help you determine if you are a slave to your money or master over it. If the majority of your money works for you, then you are the master. If you are paying off people or items, then you are the slave to your money.

No one wants to be a slave, to pull from the wiki:
A slave can be the following:
· where people are owned by others, and live to serve their owners without pay
· a specific form of submissive

· whose functioning is dependent on that of another piece of equipment
· a relationship between two or more devices or assemblies in which one device, the "master", controls the operation of the other, the "slave"

In all these above definitions, being a slave means you have little or no control over your actions or yourself or at least you have lost control over your own day-to-day endeavors. Your function in life is to provide for the 'Master' in your life. With money being that master, in the form of debt, it is no fun. It doesn't care whether you are ill, lost a job, moved or had a baby. It wants its needs taken care of, NOW!

If you are the master over your money; you determine your own day-to-day life in many ways. A day or two of being sick doesn't throw your life into a drama. If you are the master over your money, congratulations.

However, if you consider yourself a slave, it's time to think about a plan of escape from your inconsiderate, impersonal Master.

I love the posters from world war 2 that were promoting less waste, whether it be cooking lard, oil or recycling metal. Recently treehugger gathered a few old posters - not the most common ones, but I found a few I liked.
From Treehugger's frugal green living posters (20 total):

In the Nov/Dec. 2008 issue of ReadyMade magazine they asked a five artists to put their creative minds together for a modern twist (downloadable) to the WW2 posters:

More posters:
Flickr: WWII Posters (47 pages)

It’s that time of year here in the snowy states; you will find people who either hate it or love it, but that doesn’t matter if you aren’t prepared for it when you drive. Here are some basic things to check -

On the outside:

Check Tire Tread – This is one of the few times a penny has great value. Turn the penny head down and stick it between your tire tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head fully, your tires legally need to be replaced. If you have no tire tread to put the penny in, you will be dancing on ice like Oksana Baiul, but not looking as pretty!

Windshield – A decent way to keep the fogging to a minimum on the windows is to clean them with vinegar and water, then dry them off with newspaper. This seems to work for about a month or so for me.

Windshield Wipers – Nothing is as annoying as running the wipers and getting wide streaks while you are trying to drive. Time to replace the blades. However, if you are in a hurry to get to work and don’t have time. Grab some sandpaper, fine grained is best, and run them along the blade on both sides. This should bring the rubber back in shape enough until you can replace them.

Lights – Clean the inside of the headlight case, if you can get to it. Vinegar and water work well. This is also a good time to check if any lights are burned out on the car.

Check the inside:

Junk in the Trunk – This is a good type of junk. Have a blanket handy, a first aid kit, flashlight, extra gloves, kittly litter/sand(for traction) and whatever else you may need. Enough of this stuff and you won’t need 35# bags of sand to weigh the car down. If you are like me, put some of these items in the back seat for easy access and to keep the blanket warm.

Glove Compartment – If you don’t carry around the ubiquitous cell phone, time to get one. If it doesn’t have service, that is fine, the 911 feature will still work as long as you have battery power and signal strength. Throw this in your glove box for the ‘just in case’.

I’m sure this doesn’t cover it all, but some basics to get you started. Happy sledding!

Since I work in two different industries that can be easily affected by the economic downturn (retail and telecommunications), my partner and I are slowly making changes that will become more long-term habits whether I lose a job or not.

We have to do this slowly as this frugal type of thinking is not part of my partners habits as much as it has been for me. Sometimes I can go much more extreme and it can be a deal breaker on her moving along with me down the more frugal road, but I am learning that I may have to slow down a bit in order to allow her to catch up.

Below I will note the ways we are currently saving money and ways we will be making changes in the future and then ways that I would LIKE to make changes...But then again, I move a little faster.

Currently being done:
*Washing clothes in cold water (whites in warm)
*Taking shorter showers
*Buying less red meat, eating more vegetarian meals
*Using heat and air conditioning less
*Wearing socks, slippers and using blankets more
*Unplugging items around the house to cut back on phantom electricity
*Took insurance off of one car and parked it for the winter
*Cut back on going out by 80%
*Use the library more for entertainment and use the free codes for Redbox
*Cut down on cable extras
*Bought over 50% of our Christmas gifts at thrift stores
*Used the propane grill more to cook food more instead of the stove
*Using coupons to cut down price of food by 30% on average

In the Works:
1. By April Cable will be removed and we will be getting what digital channels we can over the air. [update: We tried this and found that it wouldn't work for our situation]
– We have found we predominantly watch the major local networks and most other shows we can view online or by hooking up cable from the laptop to the TV for a bigger picture.

2. By January we will look over our utility company (UC) bill and see how much we can lower our monthly amount.
– Currently we are on a monthly average of $95, down $10/month from last year, and are hoping to lower that average by another 10-20 more. This way at the end of the year we don't owe the UC any money and the UC doesn't owe us. [update: we were able to drop the monthly bill another $9/month]

3. By February I hope to have increased my coupon usage and bargain hunting so that I save an average of 45% or more on food and other necessities, thus saving on food and having more of a pantry stockpile

4. By Halloween of 2009 we hope to have at least 80% or more of our Christmas gifts bought throughout the year.
– Buying throughout the year allows us to spend not in a lump sum out of a couple of paychecks but over the course of 15-20 paychecks. This also allows us to purchase for more people or more gifts for fewer people.

5. Continuing the current reduction of electricity, water and waste to save money and recycle items more.

6. Buy an upright freezer to save on grocery shopping and save money when good deals are found
–For instance, this week the grocery store had 99¢ gallons of milk for the week, I would have loved to buy a bunch to put in a freezer.

7. Contact credit card companies about lowering APR and saving money over the long-term on cards with balances.

Changes I would like to make:
1. Sell the second car – currently it is more of a safety net.
2. Buy a second-hand upright freezer – This can be a bit of a headache with getting a decent freezer that isn't falling apart and isn't 40 years old or not energy efficient.
3. Making more handmade Christmas gifts next year
4. Going to more yard sales and finding necessary items plus the occasional item to resell and make some extra money.
5. Hang a clothesline in the garage –We aren't allowed to put clothes on a patio, so that would be the next best area besides a bedroom or a bathroom.

Just writing this down has already helped me see a plan of action and it helps me see that I have done quite a bit and have a ways to go. Since we live in an apartment some things can't be done (north facing, no gardening), while I don't have to worry about other housing expenses like replacing a microwave or leaky ceilings.

Each item may not save a lot of money but overall it will add up and allow us extra money from each paycheck to put toward an emergency fund, a debt or saving for a small vacation again.

If you’ve recently gotten rid of your tv or want to get rid of your tv, there is an alternative - tv online.
Unfortunately, the main point for getting rid of tv for most people is to free up the time. So this may not be a great idea for you. However, for those who are looking for ways to save money by getting rid of the tv, this is one alternative as opposed to waiting for the season to come out on video.
Of course if I missed any, let me know.
(The * are for ones that have complete episodes)


TCM videos (movie trailers only)
*Adult Swim (cartoons)
Sites to view full episodes:
First on Mars
AOL video
YouTube (search full episodes)

The sites I check out for audio books are:
LibriVox catalog- The only downside is that I like to search by topic, so this takes a bit of time to go through
Audio Books For Free - has the books broken down into fiction, non-fiction and other subcategories
Free Classic Audio Books - has only three pages, but I found one I liked and downloaded
Project Gutenberg Audio - a long list, organized a bit better, but not by category
Learn out Loud - some audio and video that can be downloaded. Some hard to find audios as well
Podcasts for news, concerts, info:
NPR: Podcast directory - Some good stuff from the last couple of years.
– Favorite: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
Podcast directory - quite a variety, has many podcasts that are old and haven’t been updated in years.
This American Life - “There’s a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It’s mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always.”
These are other sites that I use online:
Live365 - A wide variety of stations from movie scores to military radio, from sermons to wedding music; they seriously have it all. The only downside is that the popular stations fill up early and you have to buy a monthly VIP pass to get access and not have any ads
Yahoo radio - Good for both radio and videos, some free stations, play mostly the same popular music unless you set up your own station, which is free
Pandora - Easy to use music site, able to fast forward (a few times), seems to work on most any computer.
Last.FM - The competitor to Pandora. I find it frustrating to use, but many people swear by it. No commercials and can launch in it’s own little radio window. - A reader turned me on to this site, a good source for independent music artists. Not always categorized correctly in my opinion, but generally well done. You can be notified of new songs uploaded by your favorite artists.
Free MP3's from - There are some good finds here, I like the classical ones myself, but they have rap and blues, etc.
Radio Station locater - If you prefer to listen to your local station on the computer and don’t remember the call letters. Appears to be updated well, as they don’t have a local smooth jazz station that went off the air a few weeks ago. They have AM and FM station, but not all stations have an online presence.
Word of Truth Radio - Great site for instrumental christian music for hymns and modern music.

BBC Radio - Music and News from around the world. A great way to get away from the same old thing.
NPR - Most NPR stations are available online as well. Find your local one and tune in.

Old time Radio
Old-Time Radio Shows - Listen to hours of X Minus 1, Burns and Allen, The Shadow, Gunsmoke and more. Hasn’t been updated for a few months.
Radio Lovers - They have a nice list from Unsolved Mysteries, Wings to Victory, Father Knows Best and more
Old Time Radio News - Among some of the items they have; you can listen to old news stories and major events
Radio Nostalgia - Regularly updated site with old time radio shows, game shows, old sporting events and more. Downloadable to your ipod, cd, or computer for listening to later.
What else have I forgotten?
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting) Radio podcasts
Download live concert music
Dance Music Radio Internet Radio

I hear comments every now and again about how someone would never lead a frugal life, it would be one of unhappiness. It seems that when people think of frugal living, they think of Scrooge McDuck or living in a cold home while eating soup and bread all the time.

Frugality isn’t about sacrificing and giving up happiness to have a boat load of money. Instead it is about finding enough.

When someone asks what you would take to a deserted island, they limit it to 3 many times. I’ve always wondered why until I realized that if I were to sit down and write out everything I should take, I would end up with most of the contents of my home on the list. We want all the creature comforts we have come accustomed to and those that we dream about as well. We want those things that we tell ourselves we need and those things that the Madison Avenue tells us we want as well.

The problem with this is that we define ourselves by the things that we own. Instead of us keeping only those things that are needed, we seem to carry them around like they are another body part. Who we are shouldn’t be found in possessions, instead our wholeness should be found in what possessions we don’t need; those things that they can’t be bought, like character and respect.

Frugality is also about finding enough when you have nothing; it is about knowing who you are even if everything you wanted to take to the island were, one by one, crossed off the list; it is about looking for character and respect within you and not from the inanimate possessions that wait to be used by you.

After reading books like, The Millionaire Mind, I learned a few things about those who are content and have found ‘enough’.

  • They have a purpose that is larger than their needs or wants – They have a mission to help others; they aren’t out to fulfill their own desires, because those would be a deep well that could never be filled and they bring the happiness that comes from helping others.

  • Their way of being frugal is to account for where their money is – they know how much they have and how much they spend and they are ready for the unexpected

  • They have their own ideas of ‘enough’ – They aren’t relying on what kind of car their neighbor bought or how many vacations they took. They look inside and they see that this stuff is sufficient for happiness, whether bought at a yard sale or not.

Frugality isn’t something that you attain, it is something you discover, learn and grow from, ultimately seeing that it isn’t frugality really but that it is life, and a good one at that and, it is enough.

**If it's Spam, it's a Scam!- If it sounds too good, if it shows up in your bulk folder or your spam folder - don't touch it, just delete it

**Check out the charity- You can find some charity info at the BBB or charity navigator

** There is no deadline to give- Take you time. Charities don't have deadlines, but scammers do to stay under the radar. Tell them you will think about it. If they use high pressure tactics, they aren't worth it and more than likely aren't legit.

**Ask Questions- Found out the location of the charity, how much of the money is for administrative use and how will the money be used for the needs. If 50% or more of your donation goes to executives’ salaries, administrative cost and fundraising, skip them.

**Get information in Writing- Have them send you a brochure, a graph of their previous divisions of money, and their 990 tax form information that they file with the government.

Charities are required to provide Form 990 information on request (This excludes churches, synagogues and other places of worship.) Don't be fooled by their 'tax-ID number' these are only needed to for employer verification.

**Check out all charities for Police and Fire Departments- Check them out first, get the name, address and phone number to contact them back and do follow up.

**Get a Receipt- Preferably one with the charity name on it. A paper trail is always a good thing.

** Don't donate with cash- Again the paper trail idea, check or credit card is best.

**Be protective with information- It is best to not give information out over the phone like credit cards or personal information, unless you have checked them out or dealt with them before.

**Get the exact name of the organization- Many scammers have names similar to legit organizations. They may change the wording slightly to throw you off.

**Contact the authorities- Police and or FBI can be contacted, have as much information as you can with you to give them. Even recording a call can be helpful if you get regular calls, make sure it is allowed in your state or if you have to let them know you are recording them.

The BEST way to give to charities is to contact them after you have done your own research. Don't let the scammers scare you off, please do give of yourself through time or money.

What are 25 different ways you save money?

Whether it be daily or once in your lifetime, either jot it down in the comments or post to your own blog and I will link to it here. (just let me know in some form) It is always good to take a step back and see what good you ARE doing and where you can do better.

Here are my ways I have saved and continue to save money :
1. Change light bulbs to CFL bulbs to save money
2. Use Heat and Air Conditioning sparingly
3. Using sunlight instead of lights in the house as much as possible
4. Unplug items that aren't in use, especially the tv set at night
5. Keep razorblades dry and clean so that they last longer
6. Write checks for over the amount instead of using an ATM with fees
7. Use plastic containers to store left over food for eating later
8. Turn off all lights when not in a room
9. Leave the car at home at least one day out of the week
10. Borrow books/videos from the library instead of buying them
11. Use coupons and check grocery circulars to get the best deals
12. Cook meals at home, cutting back on eating out
13. Take lunch to work
14. Watch movies at home instead of in the theater
15. Wash clothes every 10+ days
16. Wash clothes in cold water to save on heat
17. Every 6-12 months, verify I am getting the best deal on insurance & credit card rates
18. Cut out all subscriptions to magazines
19. Buy foods in bulk or when items are on clearance and save in pantry & freezer
20. Pick up money from the ground and from vending machines, save in a coin jar
21. Round up in check book and place excess in savings at end of the month
22. Go to free events around town - Zoo, art museum, etc.
23. Put raises or bonuses in savings or apply towards debt
24. Do research online for best value for money on medium to large priced items
25. When I go out to eat, make sure I bring half of the food home for a nice lunch for work the next day!

Since everyone saves money a little differently and we all can learn a thing or two from each other, check out other people’s thoughts on ways THEY SAVE:

Frugal for Life was started 4 years ago and has gone through a couple different inceptions over the years, this is the current concept of FFL. I originally started this site to keep track of all the good tips and websites I came across as I led a ‘life on less’, now I hope to take the site in a new direction that is more personal and less about tips.

My current posting schedule is as follows: M-W-F are my posting days. You can subscribe to my site via news reader or email for regular updates.

To summarize up to this point, I had to live a frugal life when I got out on my own and didn’t do a good enough job of controlling my expenses, that eventually led to filing bankruptcy because it was so out of control. It even got so bad that I was borrowing money from payday loans and pawning off goods; so I understand the spiraling hole and depression that can come from those types of loans and debt.

What finally woke me up was reading the “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” from cover to cover and realizing that not only did I remember my parents teaching me many of those tips, but that it was not to late and I could start right now getting myself back on track with proper habits.
It’s not always an easy road, there are times I don’t always follow my own advice when I should, but that is why I named the site Frugal for LIFE. This is an ongoing endeavor and one that I enjoy and wanted to share with whoever would read it by setting up this blog.
Frugal living is (imho):

~It is living below your means; living on 80% of your pay instead of 100-110%
~It is being conscious of your spending and making sure it is a need and not a want
~It is giving yourself time to research the best deal so you don’t waste money
~It is seeing treasure in items with as much as you can imagine using your creativity
*It is not living a life you dread waking up to
*It is not thinking that money controls you, but instead you control it
*It is not about what works for you will automatically work for everyone else
I hope this site conveys to you my good times and bad, my thoughts and frustrations and my hopes and dreams as I live frugal for life.


Disclaimer: Though I talk about finances and frugal tips; I am by far no expert and I have not tested out every idea, tip or money idea. That being said - You have been warned that you are on your own.
To view the FFL privacy policy

frugalforlife @ (remove the spaces)