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: