Frugal Garages, Basements and Playrooms

March 10, 2009
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So I’m at a point in writing this book where I’m a bit stumped. And if you know me, I’m never at a loss for words. Here’s what’s going on. There is a proposed section in the book devoted to frugality in the garage, the basement and your kids’ playrooms. I’ve got a couple of tips to go on, such as turning off the electronics on the Playstation, XBox, Wii and whatever when you leave the playroom, and selling extra toys and books on eBay or Craigslist to make extra cash. But the garage and the basement? Well, besides...

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DST Is An Energy Suck: Here Are 7 Energy-Saving Tips

March 9, 2009
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As most of America is well aware of, we went into Daylight Savings Time (DST) this past weekend–you know, when we set the clocks to one hour later and “spring ahead.” I don’t know about you but I’ve been feeling a little jet lag today, like I’d traveled across a time zone without actually going anywhere. Well, I guess in reality, I did. This jet lag effect was the most apparent this afternoon. Normally, around 3:00 I’ll start to feel a bit drowsy, and I’ll usually brew a second cup of coffee to perk me up and help me...

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Make a Referral Week

March 9, 2009
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One of the things about freelancing that my husband has never understood is when I refer another freelancer for a gig. I saw this as good karma. He saw this as potentially giving away a job that could have come my way. Granted, I don’t hand out referrals left and right, and there are certain clients whose whereabouts I keep close to my chest. But I’m a big believer in the notion that the way folks like me stay in business is by referring business to others in hopes that others will do the same for me. And plenty...

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8 Tips for Surviving Company Layoffs

March 9, 2009
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I’ll never forget what it was like when I worked in a company where every week brought a new round of pink slips. My stomach would knot up each Monday when I stepped off the elevator, pushed through the office’s door and sat down in my cubicle. Would I be next? Did I need to duck and cover? Should I start floating my resume? These days, the pink-slip stress is a daily occurrence for many individuals. Maybe a pending layoff could be a reason you’ve decided to adopt a frugal lifestyle–and therefore found your way over to this blog....

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Living Well on a Modest Income: Guest Post

March 6, 2009
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Living Well on a Modest Income: Guest Post

Today’s blog posting is actually a guest post from Danny Kofke, a teacher and author of the book “How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher’s Salary.” Danny’s whole approach is about living well on a modest income, something he’s achieved as a special education teacher for the past nine years. Currently, he teaches outside of Atlanta. Here’s what Danny told me about his reason for writing the book: “My colleagues inspired me to write my book.  I had a few teachers tell me that Tracy (my wife) and I did really well on a teacher’s salary and...

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Mother of All Inventions

March 5, 2009
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A couple of years ago, I came up with an invention that I thought was QVC-worthy. It was a bedding item that I’ll bet every married couple (or partnered couple, for that matter) has dealt with–the fight over blankets on the bed. I won’t go  into too much detail, because I’d still like to make this invention one day (I just need to learn to sew). However, I will go into an opportunity I just learned about that may benefit any other female inventors out there. I got this press release from Bed, Bath and Beyond that was a...

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Dollar Stores

March 4, 2009
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I just read a great article over at The Frugal Yankee. It’s about the good, the bad and the ugly of Dollar Stores–basically, what’s a great deal and what you should pass on by. For example, many of the items the article points out that you shouldn’t buy at a Dollar Store have to do with the fact that these products may have been involved in a recall (peanut products, lead in jewelry) but somehow are still on the shelves there. (Not sure how Dollar Stores get around complying with the Consumer Products Safety Commission but a search of...

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Cable, TV and Movie Entertainment on the Cheap

March 4, 2009
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Once again I’ve got my Suddenly Frugal book on the brain, and I’m curious if my advice is spot on. This has to do with getting your cable, TV and movie entertainment fixes on the cheap. For example, after a great exchange on Twitter yesterday (follow me @leangreenmom, if you’re not already), I discovered that a Netflix subscription can be a part of a healthy frugal entertainment diet. The trick is paying for the cheapest subscription possible, and staying on top of your requests and returns so that your per-movie cost averages about $1 per flick. Even Comcast’s On...

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Acquire New Skills, Save Money

March 3, 2009
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Given that my Suddenly Frugal book is due to the publisher in 30 days, you can pretty much guess what I’m going to be busy doing during the month of March–you know, besides not spending anything above and beyond regular expenses. Seriously, though, I spent Monday, a snow day in these parts, working on various sections of my book. I had a lot of fun putting together one chapter about how you can learn new skills to save money. The premise behind the chapter is this: if you can learn to do something that you would normally outsource to...

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Read My Lips, No New Spending

March 2, 2009
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We are trying something new in the Suddenly Frugal household throughout the month of March. We are trying to make it through the month with no new spending. In a way we are kind of like that book from a couple of years ago called Not Buying It. It revolved around a couple’s decision not to buy anything for a year except their necessities–and I think they got some grief for what they considered to be quote unquote necessities, such as a daily New York Times habit. For us, here’s how we’re running this experiment. We are spending nothing...

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4 Tips for Tax Season

February 27, 2009
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All I know is that I hope that this year’s tax return experience is nothing like last year’s. Not that the pro we used did anything wrong. In fact, he was perfect. It’s just last year we ended up owing a ton of taxes for our 2007 return, because we’d used (stupidly) part of our retirement money to buy this house. This year we’re hoping for a better tax experience. For starters we didn’t dip into any retirement accounts, and we paid our estimated taxes quarterly. Once 2008 was over, I got all of my 1099s collected and filed....

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Spruce Up Your Home-Take Two

February 26, 2009
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Back in September I wrote a post about a “spruce up your home” contest that Rohm and Haas was sponsoring. I just found out that the company has chosen 20 finalists (out of 135 entrants), and now they’d like the public to vote on which house could benefit from a face lift the most–and therefore should be the winner. This $pruce Up Your Home contest is being done in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. And if you’d like to help choose a winner, you can cast your vote online at the Paintquality.com website. I hope that some of...

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5 Tips for Bartering Goods and Services

February 25, 2009
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I’ve been looking at the photo header on the blog (the pinecones and candle) and feeling like it’s out of date. Well, not only is it out of date since I took it to illustrate a story on free Christmas decorations, but I’m not sure it represents “suddenly frugal” as well as another image might. The image that keeps popping into my head is a change jar, but not any old change jar–a cool, hip change jar. Yeah, I know, change jars are neither hip nor cool, but that’s where my mind has been going when I think about...

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Frugal Wedding Plans More Important Now Than Ever

February 24, 2009
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When I was spending most of my professional time writing wedding-planning books, I was constantly amazed by how much the average American couple spent on a wedding. In many instances this one-day event would cost more than a starting salary–or at least a starting salary in publishing where I work. Additionally, I always said that February 14th or Valentine’s Day was one of the most popular days for couples to get engaged. So I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that less than two weeks later, Brides.com has released its latest survey on weddings: the 2009 American Wedding Study. One...

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Frugal Winter Workouts Segment on 6abc.com

February 23, 2009
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I’m featured in this TV segment (syndicated nationally but recently shown on the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia) on frugal winter workouts. more about "Frugal Winter Workouts Segment on 6ab…", posted with vodpod

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Reusable Shopping Bag Savings Going Down the Drain

February 23, 2009
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A few weeks ago I’d written about taking reusable shopping bags with you when you go to the grocery store. Because I wanted to highlight the stores that reward you for bringing your own bag. In response to that post, I started doing some research into exactly which stores gave what kind of benefits. I did this because the information I was getting from everyone but the retailers themselves was conflicting. I quickly discovered that supermarkets are notoriously private about their business practices. Despite reaching out to all of the major supermarket chains in the United States, I heard...

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Other DIY Cleaners

February 19, 2009
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For more ideas on making your own household cleaners, check out this post called “That Squeaky Clean Feeling” over at the Recycle Raccoon. There are a number of DIY cleaners you can try in this post, including an all-purpose spray using either lemon juice or vinegar and a “soft scrub” scouring agent using baking soda.

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Suddenly Frugal: The Book

February 19, 2009
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Just wanted to share this good news with all of the readers of my blog about the book I’m now working on. This blurb ran in a book publishing trade yesterday: NON-FICTION: LIFESTYLE Leah Ingram’s SUDDENLY FRUGAL, based on the author’s blog, the book will help readers identify small, painless changes they can make to their daily habits that can add up to big savings while bringing them closer as a family, to Meredith O’Hayre at Adams Media, for publication in October 2009, by Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans (World). The book itself is due to the publisher...

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Back on the Wagon with Meal Planning

February 18, 2009
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I appreciate all of the comments to my post earlier this week about falling off the frugal wagon. I’m pleased to report that the horses have been hitched up, and we’re back on the frugal wagon, and moving ahead at a steady pace. The first way that I got my family back on track was making sure that I got serious about meal planning again. It’s not that I wasn’t meal planning before, but I wasn’t writing down the meals I planned to make. I was just winging it. It’s the same with counting points on Weight Watchers. You...

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Practice Sustainability, Win $5,000

February 17, 2009
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I just got the heads up that time is running out to enter the Just Do One video contest. The winning video entry will receive a cash prize of $5,000.00.  We all know someone who could use $5,000.00 right now, right? Entering is simple. Just take a 3 minute video of you, your friends, your family or anyone you know doing one act of sustainability.  Not sure what that qualifies as sustainable? Here are some video ideas: ·   Buying organic food & wine from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc. ·   Setting up a compost bin ·   Packing groceries in...

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Falling Off the Frugal Wagon

February 15, 2009
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I guess like any behavior change, once in awhile you fall off the wagon. I feel like this weekend, we fell way off the frugal wagon. For starters, my kids have had a mini winter break (read: no school) for the past five days. That means that we’ve had a lot of time to fill. So on Friday, when my daughters asked to go to the movies and bring a friend, I said, “OK.” I hate paying for movies when I can get a movie at home for the four of us to watch via On Demand for about...

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2 Quick Friday Frugal Tips

February 13, 2009
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Here are 2 quick tips for your Friday. The first has to do with the Postal Service. As we know from my recent post on paying bills online, more Americans are sending money electronically via online banking. This means that fewer people are buying and using stamps. And the United States Postal Service is hurting because of it. No wonder, then, that postage is going up yet again, this time in May. That is, on May 11, the price for a first-class stamp goes up to 44 cents, from 42 cents. This comes almost exactly one year after the...

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Recycle Cell Phones for Valentine's Day

February 12, 2009
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I know, I know, you’re probably wondering what the heck recycling your cell phone has to do with Valentine’s Day. Well, consider this. Everyone thinks about relationships on Valentine’s Day–the relationship they’re in, the relationship they wish they had or the relationship that they’re just getting over. But did you ever stop to think about the relationship that no one wants to be in? That would be an abusive relationship. Sadly, 1 out of 3 American women report having been abused at some point in their lifetime, and nearly 1 in 5 full-time, employed adults report they have been...

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