It’s time for the weekly roundup of helpful, weird, and wonderful money-saving tips from around the Web.
3 things to do when you don’t feel like being frugal anymore. At some point or another, even the most frugal folks get tired of pinching pennies. To combat frugal fatigue (and avoid a full-on shopping withdrawal binge), it helps to give yourself a little breathing room in the budget. Here’s why:
The purpose of frugality is not to be a miser; it’s to be a wise steward. If you can, include at least $10 to $20 in your budget each week for something fun: a treat at the coffee shop or ice cream shop, dinner out, pizza and a movie or whatever else you or your family especially enjoys. If it’s budgeted, you can guiltlessly enjoy it and look forward to it.
3 rules of leftovers. The suggested acronym is MSR, as in Make more than you need, Save the extras, and Repurpose those extras later. Actually, as this post states, the M isn’t necessary. You can also get leftovers from a doggie bag or, say, Mexican takeout, which the blogger here repurposes like this:
There wasn’t much left beyond onions, peppers, and about a cup of enchilada sauce. This week, we combined them, added some pinto beans, scooped it on rice, and shredded some cheddar into the mixture for an excellent, 10-minute chili.
Visit the ChexSystems website at Consumerdebit.com. Request a free copy of your report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, they’re obligated to provide you with a free report once every 12 months. That report will help you figure out which bank or banks reported you and why.
5 tips for stockpiling groceries and household staples. Using coupons and smart bargain-hunting shopping techniques, it’s possible to stock up on the cheap on everything from soup to nuts to toothbrushes. Once you’ve started stockpiling, the next step is to avoid wasting everything you’ve gathered. Here’s one way to do so:
Keep it out of sight. Call it the Costco effect. If I put 15 boxes of Pop-Tarts in the kitchen cupboard, my family would keep the toaster running morning, noon and night. This can be intensified if money has been tight and treats scarce before Mom or Dad started couponing.
5 real estate tips from Warren Buffett. Too often, a dream home can turn into a nightmare, as Buffett wrote in a 2010 shareholder letter:
Buffett warned, “a house can be a nightmare if the buyer’s eyes are bigger than his wallet and if a lender — often protected by a government guarantee — facilitates his fantasy. Our country’s social goal should not be to put families into the house of their dreams, but rather to put them into a house they can afford.”
Never buy the first version of anything – consider waiting for improvements or for the competition to bring the price down. First generation products are notorious for having little problems that are corrected in the next upgrade. Perhaps you can even buy the previous generation of the gadget in good condition from a relative or other gadget addict who is always upgrading.
9 ways to prevent yourself from overspending on your credit cards. There are some dramatic methods, such as freezing a card in a block of ice or placing it in a safe, but preventing overspending is always going to come down to personal discipline. Sometimes, a little reminder of why you’re trying to avoid spending will help you mount a more disciplined approach:
Create a sleeve for your cards, or tape something to each one. Write your goals visibly on the outside: a picture of a loved one, your mission statement, “I’m trying to pay this card off”, or simply a warning, “For emergency use only!”
10 ways to save $50,000. This ain’t gonna happen overnight. But over the course of several years, it’s absolutely possible tens of thousands of dollars by living in a cheaper location, choosing a child’s college carefully, or by dutifully trimming a number of smaller expenses such as groceries, utilities, restaurants, and insurance policies:
Kick up the deductible on your homeowners policy to $1,000 for a 25% savings; ditto for auto, and mention your clean driving record and good credit to lower car premiums by about 30%, says the Insurance Information Institute.
10 signs you’ve taken frugality too far. Perhaps right now not only your credit cards, but all your cash as well, are frozen in blocks of ice? That’d be a sign. This would too:
If there’s ever an area you shouldn’t cut back in, it’s personal hygiene. Yes you can do the simpler things like press several old slivers of soap together to make a bigger one, but for the sake of everyone around you, don’t go too far!
20 uses for cardboard tubes beyond the bathroom. Weird but potentially useful:
Ashes to ashes, cardboard to mulch. Cut tubes into small sections and throw in your compost pile. The cardboard decomposes rather easily while creating pockets for much-needed air. If your compost is starting to stink or attract flies, use this as a quick fix. Small chunks can also be tilled into garden soil.
30 ways to cut health care costs. Weird (and sad) that you have to jump through hoops and go to such lengths to avoid overpaying on health care, but again, potentially useful. Here’s a tip for wheelers and dealers:
Ask for a cash discount. If you’re in your deductible period and paying for a test or procedure yourself, get some leverage by paying cash. Some providers will cut your bill by 20% if you give them cash, says Christopher Parks, CEO of Change Healthcare, which provides health care tools for employers.
34 house staging tips. Do the dishes! Clean the bathroom! Scoop the cat litter! And the most important tip of all when you’re trying to sell a house is to declutter:
This is THE big piece of advice you will get when it comes to house staging. You will need to remove clutter from your house. Buyers want to see an open space where they can envision their own belongings.
43 chores young children can do. It’s not child abuse, nor is it taking frugality too far. It’s teaching kids that pitching in is part of life, while also (potentially) lightening a parent’s load around the house. These, for instance, are suggested chores for kids ages 3 to 5:
20. Sort laundry by family member
21. Dusting with a dry cloth or dust mitt
22. Wiping low windowsills with a damp cloth
23. Bringing newspaper in from outside