I haven’t made the time to piece together a “links roundup” lately, which is too bad. I’ve collected a lot of articles worth mentioning, even if they don’t merit full posts of their own.

I try to share many of these stories on Twitter, but I’ve collected three that deserve special attention. They’re each packed with money-saving ideas for everyday shopping.

Real Simple’s “Save on Everyday Stuff”
Last week, Real Simple published a collection of tips for how to save on everyday stuff you need. This list of nearly 40 tips is divided into several categories:

  • How to save on your grocery bill
  • How to save on garden supplies
  • How to save on cell phone plans
  • How to save on car expenses
  • How to save on home repairs
  • How to save on medical bills

This is a seemingly random collection of ideas, ranging from “purchases oranges, onions, and potatoes in bags” and “find out an item’s cost per unit” to “forget the 3,000-mile oil change myth” and “stick with the car dealership for tricky repairs”.

Despite the odd assortment of tips, there’s some great advice here, including:

If you talk for fewer than 200 minutes monthly: A prepaid plan [cell phone plan] is for you. “Thirty percent of mobile users who are not on one should be,” says Allen Hepner, executive director of the New Millennium Research Council, a telecommunications think tank in Washington, D.C.

Hillbilly Housewife’s “Worthwhile Convenience Foods”
One of the first websites I ever wrote about Get Rich Slowly (back in June 2006) was Hillbilly Housewife, a site devoted to low-cost home-cooking from scratch. The site has changed hands since I first covered it, but it still contains the same frugal sensibility. While browsing the archives, I found this list of store-bought convenience foods that are usually good buys.

The author writes:

When it comes to Convenience Foods, most of us are coming from 2 opposite sides of the fence.  We either love ‘em or we hate ‘em.  I tend to be from the “Hate ‘Em-Camp”…

Regardless of which side you associate yourself with the fact of the matter is that some convenience foods really do what they’re supposed to do.  They save us a great deal of work and time without costing much more than the homemade-from-scratch-version.  Amazingly, a few even cost less.  There aren’t a lot of convenience foods that fall into this golden category.  The ones that do have definitely earned a spot on every budget-shopper’s grocery list.

What foods make the list? Things like:

  • Bread
  • Biscuit mix
  • Pasta
  • Crackers, chips, and snacks
  • Dried and canned beans
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Condiments
  • Desserts

There’s far more in this list, and the site lists its rationale for each recommendation. For example, “Spaghetti Sauce purchased in tall 26-ounce cans are one of the best bargains in the supermarket these days. They usually cost about the same as an equivalent amount of canned tomatoes.  All of the work of preparing the tomatoes, seasoning the sauce and simmering it on the back of the stove for an hour, is already done for you.”

Kiplinger’s “Best Time to Buy”
Finally, Kiplinger’s has a list of the best time to buy a variety of items. They’ve divided their advice into four sections:

For example, did you know that July is the best time to buy furniture? From the article:

New furniture hits showrooms in August, according to the American Home Furnishing Alliance. That means you can save 10% to 50% in July as retailers make room for the new inventory.

July is also a good time to buy soda, beer, and condiments. August is a good time to shop for patio furniture, outdoor toys, and office supplies. Though this is probably a no-brainer, the article notes that you can save on produce all summer long.

This article is about Frugality, Hints and Tips, Shopping