111 Frugal Tips for Smarter Buying and Serious Saving

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This week’s link roundup covers fees no prudent consumer should ever pay, supermarkets that can save you big-time on grocery bills, reasons why you might want to splurge on a latte from time to time (OK, this isn’t just about saving money), and a no-excuses look at the real reasons you’re broke.
3 expenses I thought I couldn’t live without (but really could). Such as: an Internet-phone-cable package.

After a month of adjustment I realized it wasn’t really necessary. I learned I love reading. In just two months I have read a total of six books. Six! I have had more time to go exploring in my neighborhood. If I need to do something with the Internet I write out a list and go to a local café or library, which is also a nice change of scenery.

4 discount grocery store chains. Such as: Food 4 Less.

A subsidiary of Kroger, Food 4 Less offer print-at-home coupons, the opportunity to purchase gift cards for many different stores, and programs to help local schools earn money, just like the bigger grocery stores. In addition, you get the usual savings you can expect from a bargain grocery store.

4 ways to make money-smart kids. Such as: practice.

If you want your child to be skilled at putting a basketball through a hoop, you give them a basketball and encourage them to shoot repeatedly. Similarly, if you want them to be skilled at managing money, you must give them money and encourage them not only to save it but spend it too. Allow them to make spending mistakes they regret, and occasionally let them to run out of money.

5 tips for working a job you hate. Such as: Don’t be “that guy.”

Learn from the character flaws you see in your co-workers, and start working on those flaws within yourself. This strategy gives you a way to channel your frustration into an opportunity for self-improvement.

5 things consumers should consider before switching credit cards. Such as: deciding what you want from a new card.

Consumers should think through the primary purpose for a new card: whether it’s reducing the interest rate on old debt, earning rewards for frequent travel or tracking regular expenses online, different cards will work best for different needs, [CardRatings.com's Beverly Blair] Harzog says.

5 food mark-ups where restaurants make huge profits. Such as: the “special.”

The nightly special is typically one of the higher priced items on the menu (if not the highest) and as such, usually carries a high profit margin for the restaurant. By “discounting” the price, restaurants simply lower their absurdly high profit margins by a fraction.

5 reasons you should buy your latte. Such as: the opportunity to stretch your legs and interact with live human beings.

When people buy lattes, they are forced to talk with people – the barista, a cashier, and possibly even other people in line. For people who work at their desk all day, this might be the only time they leave the office, or engage in idle chatter.

5 steps to take when a collector comes calling for a debt you don’t owe. Such as: telling them to stop contacting you.

According to federal law, a debt collector cannot continue to contact you—at work or home—if you tell them to stop. After confirming you do not owe the debt in question, you may cease all contact from the debt collection company by sending a letter (via certified mail) to the debt collector advising them to cease contact.

6 real reasons you’re broke. Such as: You spend good money on crap.

And you know the crap I’m squawking about. Crap is the stuff that’s cluttering your home and bursting out of your front door. It’s the disposable, upgradeable, and superfluous stuff you buy in a heart-beat because you’re worth it!

8 cheap places to retire abroad. Such as: Argentina, with perks like …

European vibe; low housing prices; English spoken freely; wine and tango

8 unique ideas for frugal home get-togethers. Such as: wine night.

Have everyone bring their favorite bottle of red and take sips of every kind. It’s a cheap, fun activity and a good conversation starter. Not to mention a lot cheaper than trying every wine on the menu at your favorite restaurant.

10 fees you shouldn’t be paying. Such as: directory assistance fees.

Calling 411 can cost $1.25 or more. You can get free directory assistance by calling 1-GOOG-411 or 800-FREE-411.

10 financial basics every adult should learn. Such as: skepticism.

We teach children to beware of strangers, but adults must learn skepticism in financial matters, says Lewis Mandell, a finance professor at the University of Washington who has studied financial literacy for four decades. “Understand the motivation of the counterparty, which is an academic way of saying, ‘Hey, the folks on the other side aren’t out to help you. They are out to maximize their own profits,’ ” Mandell says.

10 favorite finance books. Such as: The Complete Tightwad Gazette.

This book is a monster — almost 1000 pages of ideas on how to live well for less. Amy Dacyczyn was the Queen of Cheap twenty years ago, and her legacy remains strong. If you want to know how to get the best deal on groceries, how to shop for clothes, and how to reuse anything, then pick up this book.

13 ways to repurpose empty coffee cans. Such as: plant protector.

Cut off the bottom, remove the lid and slide the can over plant starts as a sleeve protector against small critters. Next cold snap simply replace the lids until the temperature climbs back to normal. The can will serve as a mini greenhouse in the meantime.

20 rules to live by for cheapskates. Such as: Embrace the slow cooker.

“Not only can you get by with buying tougher cuts of meat that need coddling at a low temperature for hours, but if you have beef stew or chili or pulled pork waiting at home, you’re not going to drop big bucks on takeout or pizza.”

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