Friday Frugal Challenge: The Laundry Edition

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Unless you’re padding around the house naked (and make a daily practice of doing so) you probably need to do a load of laundry. Today’s Friday Frugal Challenge: Save money on laundry.

Here are some options:

*Wash your clothes in cold water this week. Using hot water costs more—plus the colors in your clothes won’t run with cold water.

*Make your own laundry detergent. Check out the tutorial at  Houselogic.

*Ditch the dryer. For this week, hang your clothes up to dry rather than using the dryer.

What options work for you? We’ll be washing in cold water and I may experiment with homemade laundry detergent if I’m feeling ambitious. How about you?

 

Friday Frugal Challenge Update: Last week’s challenge was to either resell something you own or to buy something gently used. We sold two used books and made $7.83 with minimal effort. Did you buy or sell something?

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Road Trip! Save Money, Have Fun

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Summer time means road trips—and you don’t have to go broke to enjoy your vacation. Here are some tips to help you save money on your vacation.

*Gas Buddy is your friend. You know where the best gas prices are at home, but on the road you don’t. Get the Gas Buddy app and you won’t get gouged.

*Take a picnic. On the first day, pack a picnic and enjoy a break from driving.

*Camp out. Camping is much cheaper than staying in a hotel. Be aware that many state and national parks fill up way in advance, so plan ahead.

*Car check. Get your car checked out before your trip. Repairs on the road are expensive and a huge hassle.

*Eat cheap on the road. If you can, pack your lunch and do the picnic thing every day. If that’s not feasible, try the dollar menu at a fast food joint.

*Use your money strategically. Spend your money on people, experiences, and things that make your vacation worthwhile. I’m willing to pack a picnic if it means I can afford a memorable night out with friends when I reach my destination.

5 Things You Should Never Buy At the Grocery Store

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True, time is money, and for the sake of convenience one-stop shopping is tempting–but here are five things you’ll pay way too much for at the grocery store.

  1. Cleaning products. The dollar store is the place to go for cleaning products. Also check out WalMart if you can’t find what you need at the dollar store. Look into buying in bulk at the warehouse store if you have a membership but don’t assume bigger = cheaper.
  2. Restaurant food. You’re paying a premium to eat at the grocerant. Wouldn’t you rather be surrounded by actual restaurant ambiance?
  3. Pet supplies. Go online for the widest selection of cute accessories and toys. Shop around for the best values on pet food. We actually buy our parrot’s food online in bulk and it’s far cheaper than any of the brick-and-mortar stores.
  4. Greeting cards. Our old friend the dollar store is your go-to spot for greeting cards.
  5. Over-the-counter medications. You’ll pay a premium at the grocery store for your headache meds. WalMart is a good place to buy over-the-counter medicines. Try generic to save even more.

5-Tip Roundup: Save Some Cash!

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Here are 5 tips to help you save money in 5 areas.

Save money on groceries:

  1. Shop the perimeters.
  2. Buy a block of cheese on sale for grating.
  3. Go with the store-brand.
  4. Don’t buy stuff you can make from scratch with ease (I’m talking about you, fancy rice mixes!)
  5. Weigh the pre-packaged produce and buy the heaviest “2-pound bag” you can find.

 

Save money on pets:

  1. BEFORE you add a pet to the family, always take into account special expenses needed by your baby: grooming, medical issues common to that type of animal, extra equipment like crates, litter boxes, and kitty condos, etc.
  2. Don’t skimp on quality food.
  3. Exercise is cheap medicine.
  4. Investigage pet insurance or set up an escrow account for emergencies.
  5. Be your pet’s favorite toy. Sure, you want to buy some fun goodies for your fur baby, but no pet needs a toybox full.

 

Save money by cooking at home:

  1. Plan your meals around loss leaders.
  2. Cook extra for lunches and quick meals.
  3. Cook double amounts and freeze extra meals for days when you need to eat, fast, and you don’t want to shell out money for pizza delivery.
  4. Make soups and stews to use up leftovers.
  5. Check out allrecipes.com and cooks.com for recipes as well as reviews of the recipes. You can even plug in the ingredients you have on hand for ideas on what to make. For foodies and aspiring foodies: seriouseats.com .

 

Save money on entertainment:

  1. Go free! Visit a park and commune with nature, toss a Frisbee, or delight your dog with a scenic walk.
  2. Board Game Night: cheap, easy, and fun.
  3. Have friends over for dinner—either plan an old-fashioned dinner party or ask everyone to bring a dish.
  4. Check out Groupon for “Things to Do” and look for deep discounts on fun stuff.
  5. If you live near a college or university, enjoy the free or low-cost cultural opportunities: concerts and recitals, plays and shows, special events.

 

Save money on auto insurance:

  1. Price check! Always shop your policy annually.
  2. Get quotes from an independent agent (they represent many companies) as well as a “captive” agent (they represent only one company).
  3. Mind your deductibles—having high deductibles saves you money on insurance, but be sure you have the ability to meet those deductibles.
  4. Do not skimp on liability insurance—your financial future is at stake.
  5. Ask about discounts: good student discounts, AARP Safety Class discounts, more-drivers-than-cars discounts, safe driver discounts, and multi-car discounts can all save you money.