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Being Frugal


  • Household Budgets for Beginners: Simple Tips for Success (3 comments)

    We all know we should make and stick to a household budget if we want to be able to sock away savings each month—and end up financially comfortable. But building a household budget as a beginner can be daunting. Only one in three Americans takes the time to create a monthly budget, a recent Gallup poll showed. (I don’t need to tell you the rest of us are spending an inordinate amount of time looking…

  • Ultimate Guide to Mastering Your Money in College (4 comments)

    With more than 20 million students enrolled in colleges and universities and with the average cost of a four-year degree at nearly $10,000 per year (triple that number for a private institution), scores of Americans will realize now or later that higher education comes with serious financial implications — for them and their parents. Many students will finance their education with student loans. The average 2016 college graduate has more than $37,000 in loan debt, but there…

  • How to Save Money on Thanksgiving Day (1 comment)

    While our bellies may be stuffed on Thanksgiving, our wallets will be thinner — Americans will spend nearly $3 billion on the holiday, according to data compiled by Statistic Brain. Three billion! That includes food, travel, parties and nights out, and various other items. But instead, we could focus on how to save money on Thanksgiving this year. The average cost of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people in 2015 was $50.11, an increase of $0.70…

  • The 2016 Newlyweds’ Guide to Money (0 comment)

    Talking about money is just as uncomfortable as any discussion about religion or politics. We’re raised to think it’s not a topic for polite conversation. Unfortunately, some of us hold onto that belief even when the person on the other end of the conversation is someone we should trust — our future spouse. Millions of Americans will tie the knot this year, but how many will have “the talk” — the one about marriage and…

  • What’s the Cure for the High Cost of Prescriptions? (6 comments)

    The recent uproar over the cost of EpiPens, the life saving self-injection device that contains epinephrine, a chemical that narrows blood vessels and opens airways in the lungs to offset an allergic reaction, has garnered tremendous media attention and consumer outrage. Through massive marketing and outreach efforts by the manufacturer, Mylan, EpiPen has become to the go-to device for anyone facing a potentially serious or life-threatening allergic reaction. It is a brand that has “become”…

  • Grocery Shopping: Is it Eating Up Your Cash? (19 comments)

    Food. You can’t live without it, but it sure can be expensive. It’s also a time suck, especially because the grocery stores spend so much time playing bait-and-switch with us, requiring Inspector-Clouseau-level skills to find, for example, the pine nuts. For those who have been following my tales on GRS, it should come as no surprise The Husband does the grocery shopping, at least the bulk of it. I tend to suffer from sensory overload…

  • Surviving Back-to-School Money Madness (7 comments)

    School is (almost) back in session. That means fresh notebooks, new backpacks and outgrown sneakers that need replacing. It’s an exciting and expensive time of year. Before the first bell even chimes many of us will have shelled out several hundred dollars per child. The National Retail Federation backs that up. Its annual survey finds parents with kids in K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 for back-to-school necessities this year, up 9.6 percent from…

  • Dear Diary: I live at home and I’m still broke — Part I (25 comments)

    Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Living at home post undergrad has many rewards. If you were fortunate to have parents like mine, where rent-free is the name of their game, you might agree that it’s like winning the lotto! After a contract I was working on changed due to mutual agreement, I ended a job with the hope of tackling personal and business ventures. Technically, I wasn’t broke because I had no job. I was broke…

  • Best Budget Apps 2016-2017: Digit (3 comments)

    Money and Budgeting App Reviews 2016-2017: Digit Many people have a system for building up financial reserves. Some deposit a set amount of each paycheck or at month’s end into a savings account. Others have their checks deposited into savings, leaving only the amount needed for bills and entertainment transferred into checking. Not surprising in this age of technology, there is also a high tech iteration of the classic piggy bank: The Digit app is…

  • In Case Of Emergency: The College Credit Card (7 comments)

    My favorite scene in the 1985 movie “The Sure Thing” is when John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga are stranded in the middle of nowhere, cold and hungry, and it starts to torrentially pour. Seeking shelter in a locked trailer, John bangs incessantly on the padlock with a stone, while Daphne reaches into her bag looking for lock-picking tools and pulls out … a credit card. “I have a credit card. I have a credit card,”…

  • Best Budget Apps 2016-2017: You Need a Budget (7 comments)

    Money and Budgeting App Reviews 2016-2017: You Need a Budget If you’re ready to account for where every cent of your money goes, You Need a Budget could work for you. The app is based on the premise of “giving every dollar a job,” meaning you budget for every expense — fixed, discretionary or otherwise. Want to buy a new purse or pair of shoes? If your monthly clothing budget is $100, then you may…

  • Tandas: Informal Loan Clubs Where Trust Meets Need (5 comments)

    As savers go, I’m somewhere between decent and so-so…or at least that’s what I thought until I saw a 22-year-old neighborhood kid who used to work with me saving $800 a month with his earnings, plus furnishing his own rental apartment (in New York!) and buying a piece of land in Mexico. Our other neighbor has three kids and she earns a pretty humble salary taking care of babies and cleaning houses—yet she too saves…

  • Our Kids’ Data Usage is Killing Us (20 comments)

      The first rule of Data Club is don’t go over your monthly data allotment. The second rule of Data Club is if you do go over, only go over a little. The third rule of Data Club is hope Dad doesn’t notice we’ve gone over our data allotment because he will be mad and will give us a talking-to. Ah, data. The modern-day parents’ nightmare. In my parents’ day, we had a phone bill,…

  • The Perils of Lifestyle Inflation (11 comments)

    Lifestyle inflation is an easy concept to define: when you make more, you spend more. The opposite is just as simple: When you make more, why not save more? Are you guilty of lifestyle inflation? If you draw a salary, you may need to confront it at some point this year. According to the 42nd annual “WorldatWork 2015-2016 Salary Budget Survey,” the average 2016 budget for raises in the United States was forecasted at 3.1…

  • How to Cut the Cable Cord in 5 Easy Steps (19 comments)

    I spend days psyching myself up to make the calls. My targets include the very companies that make dialing the number possible: communications providers. Why am I connecting with these connectors who give us access to wireless phone, email, entertainment and internet? To cut that very expensive cord. This is no trivial matter. According to a survey by eMarketer, the average U.S. adult is expected to spend 5 hours and 45 minutes each day on…

  • Preparing for College (and Life) (2 comments)

    About one month after I graduated from high school, I moved out of my parents’ home for the first time. Freedom! No curfew! No rules! I had been waiting for this day for years. “When I graduate from high school, I am so outta here!” Shortly after moving out, though, I realized I wasn’t quite as well-prepared as I thought I was. One of my similarly immature friends was telling me about a minor car…

  • Save Bucks on Lower Gas Prices (0 comment)

    Have you been enjoying the sharply-reduced cost of gasoline this year? Lower petroleum prices add up to slick savings for the typical American; but in the back of your mind, there’s that nagging thought… “This isn’t going to last.” You are probably right. Oil prices are notoriously cyclical, what goes up tends to go down, and vice versa. Proving this to be true, gas prices began to tick up this month, reaching a six-month high…

  • Save money on your bike commute (36 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    This year, my husband decided to commute to work again – on his bicycle. He’s not alone. The number of people commuting by bike has increased every year since 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Back then, it was just over 687,000 Americans that biked to work. By 2014, the figure had climbed to more than 832,000. What’s surprising is that the number of active commuters…

  • Talking turkey about Black Friday savings (12 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    Were you imagining a thermos of hot coffee, maybe even a sleeping bag or tent to protect you from the elements as you camp out for hot Black Friday deals? Maybe you enjoy the mad rush of adrenaline you get when you spot and lunge for the last remaining iPad that’s on sale at an improbable price. Or maybe, just maybe, you actually prefer to avoid…

  • How do you entertain out-of-town guests for free? (9 comments)

    The holiday season is fast approaching, and you might be planning to travel home to spend time with family – or your family could be coming to see you. Either way, travel expenses add up quickly, leaving little to no room for entertainment once you’re together. Sometimes that’s not a problem because there’s so much to do anyway. But other times, it really could put a crimp in your budget or strain your guests’ finances….

  • Brown bag lunch strategies for grown-ups (29 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Eating out for lunch. For many of us, it’s one of the biggest temptations we face at work every day because it’s a tasty, convenient excuse to get out of the office and socialize (or not!) with our coworkers. But there are good reasons not to eat out for lunch too — like how long it takes, how bad it can be for the waistline, how…

  • 11 frugal ways to prepare for an emergency (33 comments)
    This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

    According to the U.S. government, all citizens should have enough supplies to survive for at least three days in an emergency. Depending on where you live, “emergency” could mean tornado, earthquake, blackout, flood, wildfire, hurricane, ice storm or zombie apocalypse. How ready do you feel? It is possible to put together an emergency kit without breaking the bank. In fact, you may…

  • What is your just-getting-started story? (41 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    Unless you are born with a silver spoon, the journey toward financial independence will most likely be arduous. Even those who’ve reached the happy state of retirement have stories to tell about the ups and downs they experienced, their mistakes and triumphs, and what it really took to get there. And most of us — especially those who regularly read this site — are still in…

  • Keeping a Pet Healthy on a Budget (25 comments)

    [Editor’s Note: We loved all the social media posts of awesome dogs in honor of National Dog Day (Aug. 26), so we thought we’d revive this popular post to help you keep your best friend happy and healthy — without breaking the bank.] There’s no such thing as a free puppy. Or kitten. Or hamster, lizard, fish or rabbit. Even if someone hands you a critter outright, you can expect to spend between $580 to…

  • Summertime reads: How to get cheap or free books (31 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    I have always been a big reader. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m introverted — so introverted, in fact, that I almost lost my fourth grade reading challenge. First, you had to go up to the teacher and tell her that you’d read something. Second, after you told her, she gave you a big sticker and you had to go up to your name on the…

  • Limited income, big family, major savings: Meet the Economides clan (15 comments)

    When Steve and Annette Economides got married in 1982, they made a conscious decision to always live below their means. The couple from Scottsdale, Arizona, even made the pact a part of their wedding vows. Then the car broke down. This is usually the part in the story where taking on a little bit of debt seems perfectly OK to do. After all, Americans collectively owe nearly $12 trillion in outstanding household debt. Sometimes other…

  • 7 things camping can teach you about money (18 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    My wife and I are new to camping. Well, it sure seems that way. When we came to America over 30 years ago, we bought Kermit, our green camping van, which we took coast to coast three times. We were young, our hair still had color. And we (being students) had time enough to see all the states (except, for some unexplained reason, West Virginia). But…

  • Pay what you want — and get what you need (13 comments)
    This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

    Looking for a cheap date, some budget-friendly culture, or ways to make your next vacation more affordable? Four words: “Pay what you want,” or PWYW. Theaters, museums, comedy troupes and other organizations may offer PWYW days or nights, where you hand over only as much as you can afford. Think of it as happy hour for entertainment — a way to get…

  • Ask the Readers: What expense do you most want to dump? (75 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    Is there a bill you pay that you absolutely detest? Occasionally, I’ll get an attitude about paying one bill or another. (Ha! Paying taxes on April 15 is one bill that comes to mind immediately, for example.) I recognize that there is a reason I have the bills that I have to pay. For the most part, each represents a service that I decided was valuable and…

  • How to deal with expensive friends (37 comments)
    No matter what I do to prevent it, spring budget creep always seems to take hold this time of year. Sometimes it seems as if the dollars start flying out the door the second the temperature starts to rise. And although I budget for all of our known expenses, the extra expenditures still add up — and hurt.

    Part of our creep is a product of spring clean-up — mulch, new plants and flowers,…

  • Caring for your garden tools (4 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    “Spring has sprung,” as they say in my little corner of the Midwest. Our magnolia tree is in partial bloom, the daffodils and hyacinths are in full bloom, and most trees are starting to bud. I love this time of year! If you have been missing J.D. Roth’s garden posts, I plan to share periodic posts with a gardening theme. Speaking of gardening, some of our…

  • How to build community relationships (9 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    We spend a lot of time talking about green here on Get Rich Slowly. But let’s direct our attention for a couple minutes to another color: blue. I first read about the Blue Zones in a magazine a few years ago. These blue zones were identified after researching some of the longest living people on the planet. Although nine characteristics were associated with these blue zones,…

  • We’re eating our house! (28 comments)
    This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

    A blogger who goes by “empressjuju” thinks she and her husband spend too much on restaurants. “Every month we find ourselves rushed, or tired, or invited out with friends and there goes the budget,” she wrote in a post on her website, (the) Vegas in Austin. Her husband wondered whether it is unreasonable to spend less. Given that they want to be…

  • Ask the Readers: How much are you willing to sacrifice to reach your financial goals? (30 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    When I packed my hospital bag before having a baby last summer, I tucked my laptop in along with everything else. I thought I might squeeze in some work between contractions, or when the baby was sleeping. Or something. (I’ll pause while you all laugh.) The laptop actually did make it out of the bag once while I, already bleary from lack of sleep, held my baby…

  • Ask the Readers: Was your most memorable Valentine’s Day expensive? (21 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Love is in the air at this time of year, and the Internet is full of tips and tricks for how to celebrate Valentine’s Day on every end of the spending spectrum. All price points are represented, from customized jewelry to those with something a little more affordable in mind for Valentine’s Day. In past years, we’ve asked people to share their Valentine’s Day plans, but this…

  • Questions to ask before paying more for quality (21 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong.

    There’s something to be said for spending more on a quality item. If frugality is about getting the most value out of something, spending more on quality can actually be thrifty. In a recent post, I admitted that I once splurged on a $200 coat. A couple of readers rightfully pointed out that an expensive purchase isn’t always a waste of money. If it is a high-quality…

  • How four families survived lean times (22 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    Because I couldn’t meet my self-imposed cash budget of $500 in the month of October, I had to use other sources to meet our overage. But despite having lived under tight financial circumstances throughout some periods my life, I have always had enough to get by and things haven’t been (well, usually they haven’t been) too stressful for me. But I wanted to talk to people who…

  • The pros of experiencing the cons of poverty (40 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    At the beginning of October, I slipped five crisp Benjamins into my purse. I don’t usually carry any cash at all, so I was feeling flush with $500 in my pocket. It was all part of a simple experiment: Could I save on my grocery budget if I only paid in cash? While I will share more in the future about what I specifically learned about groceries…

  • How to be generous with money (66 comments)

    How to be generous with money when you don’t have a ton — that’s a major question. Here’s how one Get Rich Slowly contributor, Lisa Aberle, discovered some essential truths about money, friendship and giving. An ice storm was coming. The last time we’d had an ice storm we were childless and lost power for five days. The romance of sleeping in front of the fireplace quickly cooled off along with the temperature in the house….

  • Lifestyle inflation: How to decide if it’s ever okay (81 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Despite that I don’t own it, I like my apartment. It’s got a mountainous view, it’s comfortable, and my neighbors are few but friendly. Sure, I’d like to own a home someday. But, unless I move to another city, that probably isn’t going to happen in the next few years. I’m fine with that. Like my neighbor said, I’d rather live here than anywhere else, at least for…

  • Ask the Readers: How much does a creative costume cost to make? (32 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Whenever I’ve purchased a pre-packaged Halloween costume, I’ve usually been disappointed. They rarely fit and the material and accessories are chintzy. But I take my hat off for the clever people that make their own costumes. Extra points if it’s hilarious. Year after year, these people seem to out-do themselves. I don’t know how they do it! In 2011, April Dykman looked at Halloween spending for us. “According…

  • The most money I’ve ever lost (31 comments)

    Several years ago, my husband and I were planning to build a house. We bought the land and cleared the build site. We then started working with an architect, which is how we lost $12,500 in a matter of months. Here’s how it went down. Losing thousands When I hired this architect, whom I now refer to as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I thought I’d done my due diligence. The guy was profiled as one of the top architects…

  • A better way to calculate the value of your time (20 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. It’s both fascinating and useful to calculate the value of your time. Financial freedom gives you options and flexibility. But without time, that means nothing. Time is a precious resource that we should spend wisely. But you already know this — we’ve written about it quite a bit. Knowing the value of your time is helpful for a variety of reasons: If you’re a freelancer, it can help you…

  • Reader Stories: How to avoid borrowing from your future self (58 comments)

    This reader story comes from Paul. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I’ve always had what I term a “fluid budget”; that is, I always make sure I have more money coming in than going out and I don’t track every…

  • How to eat on $4/day (55 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. I spend a lot of money on food. (More than I spend on my mortgage.) Part of it is need, of course. But much of it is want, because I’m both an enthusiastic cook and a health nut. I view food as a cross between health care and hobby. And I know I’m fortunate to be in a position to buy things like freshly pressed olive oil…

  • Ask the Readers: What is your personal finance calculus? (31 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. When Donna Freedman tackled the subject of teaching our children about money last week, GetAGrip challenged the premise that parents teach and children learn: “All sounds pretty, teach them all this information and they will use it, right? “I’m not advocating not teaching, but just don’t be surprised if they somehow seem to ‘forget’ much if not all of what they were taught and run up the credit…

  • Ask the Readers: How do you know if a vet procedure is really necessary? (71 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. On Monday at 8:30 a.m., I found myself at the veterinarian’s office — where, unknowingly, I would spend the next three hours. The night before, my cat Mia threw up at least five times. In the morning, I found her wedged into a corner of the bathroom. I could tell how she felt just by looking at her. I called the vet’s office near my house right…

  • Money extremes: From spendthrift to tightwad to somewhere in the middle (22 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. Many years ago, when I was paying off a car loan and some credit card debt, I became really frugal. Almost obsessively frugal. I looked for every possible way to save money, and I dreaded ever having to spend money. Then one morning my husband accidently broke our coffee carafe. I helped him clean up the glass and caught myself feeling anxious about having to buy a…

  • Reader Stories: 4 ways to make money with your old junk (21 comments)

    Sharon M. shared some of her personal finance journey with us this week. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. About a year ago, I had to downsize from a 5200-square-foot house to an apartment. After my husband was laid off, we decided to…

  • In defense of frugality (52 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Frugality isn’t very sexy. I’ll admit that. For most people, the concept of thrift probably conjures images of coupon clipping, stock photos of piggy banks, and Benjamin Franklin — none of which are terribly glamorous. Frugality, is, however, in line with the concept of getting rich slowly. We’ve learned that building wealth has much to do with living below your means. You have to increase your income,…

  • Your landline: Think twice before cutting the cord (127 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. A while ago, my wife and I did what we do from time to time — ask if there’s another cost-saving opportunity we’ve overlooked. I don’t know about you, but the quest for fiscal prudence is generally at its highest in our household after some indulgent purchase. “Hey, look! We can compensate for this luxo-foobie by slashing costs here!” (Are we the only people who do this?)…

  • A conversation with Mr. Money Mustache (30 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about how to be happy. As part of the Get Rich Slowly course, I interviewed 18 of my favorite financial experts. Combined, these interviews comprise over eight hours of audio and more than 200 pages of written transcripts, all of which are available as part of the…

  • Giving makes us happier, but what if you don’t have much to give? (39 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, or maybe it’s that I’m in a better financial place than I was just a few years ago, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot more about giving back. In recent years, it’s becoming more important to me to be socially conscious and charitable. I’m secure, I’m healthy, and I’m free. That contentment seems to urge me to check in on…

  • Pick your hobbies strategically and save (73 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith. For the most part, we think of hobbies as activities that we naturally gravitate toward. The idea of being strategic in our selection of hobbies may seem contradictory to their very nature! However, I think that being strategic in the selection and pursuit of hobbies isn’t mutually exclusive with enjoying yourself. What’s more, you have options in how to strategize. The hobby-as-side-gig option One obvious method of making…

  • Reader Stories: A blessing in disguise (21 comments)

    This Reader Story comes from Madeline Roche, who blogs at Ballingonabudget.org. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Over the past three months, my savings account has been in flux. I was faced with some serious car maintenance duties and I made a lump-sum payment…

  • Millennials aren’t as bad with money as everyone thinks (32 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Last summer, I hung out with my brother on his college campus. He and his roommate live very much like typical college students — a fridge full of free food from my brother’s catering job, a hodgepodge of hand-me-down furniture, etc. Nothing terribly out of the ordinary with their lifestyle. They’re broke, but happy, twenty-somethings. What I did find interesting was their view of money. They had…

  • Do expiration dates make us wasteful? (68 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Before I dig into this topic, let me just put this out there: Expiration dates are important and you should always consider them so you don’t get food poisoning and end up in the hospital or whatever. Please don’t interpret this post as my arguing that expiration dates are total bull. That being said, expiration dates are total bull. Just kidding! Well, kind of. I recently came across…

  • Reader Story: How much frugal is too much frugal? (69 comments)

    This Reader Story is from GRS reader Mel from brokeGIRLrich.com. Mel recently paid off her student loans and is focusing on a frugal lifestyle to help her navigate the uncertain world of entertainment employment. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Like lots…

  • The power of speaking up (38 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Last month, my boyfriend and I took a weekend trip to Seattle to celebrate our anniversary. We got a great deal on a hotel using a discount app. We’d stayed at this hotel before, and the view was gorgeous. The price was also reasonable and the room was clean. We checked in, unloaded our bags and pulled back the curtains, preparing to take in Seattle’s beautiful skyline, which…

  • Reader Story: Yes, you can do yoga on a budget (36 comments)

    This Reader Story is from GRS reader Charu. He loves staying physically active and has recently gotten addicted to yoga. You can check out his free e-book on yoga for beginners at his blog, strongyogi.com. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. In…

  • Reader Stories: On money and happiness (45 comments)

    This reader story is from a longtime GRS reader Sumitha, who blogs at afineparent.com. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Ever miss the good ol’ days when life seemed so much simpler? When happiness was a lot easier to access and contentment seemed…

  • Buy Nothing Year: Changing how we spend (16 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Julie Phillips was planning to move into a new apartment when a massive flood in Alberta damaged her would-be building. Suddenly, she found herself displaced. “The reason I wanted to move is I wanted to save on rent,” Julie says. “I wanted to save more, I wanted to live with another person. I wanted that camaraderie.” After searching extensively, Julie grew discouraged. “I was eating a chocolate…

  • How I canceled cable and gained a new outlook on life (107 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    When my husband and I began our journey out of debt, our monthly bills were overwhelming. Of course, we were paying for all of the regular stuff like our mortgage, utilities and various insurance policies. However, we were also paying for things that we knew we wanted to live without — credit card bills, furniture that we had financed, magazine subscriptions. I also like to remind…

  • Smartphone, dumb mobile plan (59 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Why do most smartphone plans require us to pay for stuff we don’t want or use? I wondered this after looking at my last three bills and plan usage. So I asked around, and it seems it’s a pretty common scenario. “I pay $190 for two phones with unlimited talk, text and data,” said Morgan S. Without a computer at home, she says, “I basically use my…

  • Can you be friends with rich people? (73 comments)

    I wanted to title this post, “Can you be friends with people in decidedly different financial situations than you?” but that wasn’t very catchy. (And I know: some of you ARE rich!) But I was reading the acclaimed recent novel, “The Interestings,” with my writer’s craft book group (we discuss books based on writing analytics rather than whether characters and stories are likable). The book’s main character is just ordinary, with an ordinary job and ordinary…

  • Is there morality in personal finance? (46 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. A while back, my blogger friend and fellow GRS writer Holly Johnson wrote about a healthy dose of lifestyle inflation. In that article, someone made a side point that there shouldn’t be morality in personal finance — it should be about practicality. Within the comments, there was a brief but interesting dialogue going on about this topic — morality and personal finance. I thought it was really interesting…

  • The truth about being broke (109 comments)

    Are you tired of being broke? It’s been a long time since I’ve been broke, but I can still remember exactly what it felt like. I can picture all the ugly details of the way I used to struggle; the empty bank account, the awkward moments, the feelings of despair…. And honestly, one particularly awkward conversation with my sister still plays clearly in my mind to this day: “Hey sis, I’m coming into town this weekend,” she…

  • Are you saving when you should be spending? (20 comments)

    This guest post is from Jacob McMillen. He likes to write about topics for men and teach people how using Save1 Eastbay coupons can help feed starving children around the world. More often than not, the best way to save a dollar is to not spend it in the first place. There is no shortage of tips, tricks and methods available for saving $5 here and 35¢ there. Doing a quick web search for “saving…

  • Ask the Readers: What lifestyle changes have you made to improve your finances? (83 comments)

    Newish GRS reader Jennifer is beginning her financial journey, and she shared her strategy so far. So here I am, mid-30s, buried in an obscene amount of credit card debt, and very little to show for it other than my piles and piles of STUFF. Man, I love me some stuff. I’ve lived in denial for years… “Yes, I have a lot of credit card debt, but so long as I can pay my bills…

  • The 5 most popular coupon sites (and one with a mission) (39 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. I tried for years to be a coupon clipper. Every now and then, I’d decide I was going to save as much money as possible on my groceries, or at least on stuff like toothbrushes and razor blades. I’d gather all the coupon circulars that normally went straight in the garbage, and I’d review the ads and clip the coupons that spoke to me. Sometimes, I’d even…

  • 13 smart ways to be frugal at work without looking like a cheapskate (62 comments)

    This is a guest post from Ivan Chan. Ivan teaches busy professionals simple ways to manage money and worry less in life at Wealthy Without Worry. Being frugal is hard. You’ve been so disciplined all week with your spending, you’ve kept to your budget, and you’ve even resisted buying that new thing you wanted to try. You are on target to meet your savings goals for this month, and then your colleagues at work invite…

  • Decrease your budget’s bite by saving money on meat (68 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. J.D. has already covered ways to save money on food. But this time, I wanted to focus on animal protein. According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meat makes up over 22 percent of our at-home food (not out-to-eat or alcohol) budget. Obviously, you can cut your food budget by decreasing your meat consumption. But if you want to eat meat, how can you do it most…

  • New recipes on the cheap: The Pinterest strategy (78 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. When I became a vegetarian 10+ years ago, I bought two cookbooks: a 20-minutes-or-less cookbook and a five-ingredients-or-less cookbook. I was trying to keep things simple. I got by on these two cookbooks for a long time, mostly because while I was cooking as a student I lived in places with antique gas stoves. I was afraid to use anything but the stovetop, my toaster oven or the microwave…

  • Reader Story: Costs and savings of having a stay-at-home parent (82 comments)

    This post comes from Lynn Svenson, who blogs at The Photographer’s Wife. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. One of the biggest impacts to my wallet (and heart) this past year was having a baby. Of course, there are plenty of…

  • Romanticizing poverty and learning financial independence (103 comments)

    In high school, I babysat a kid whose parents were pretty well off. And by “well off,” I mean they were crazy rich. One day I decided to take the kid out for ice cream — my treat. When we got to the ice cream shop, I only had enough money to buy him the small, and he wanted the large. What then followed wasn’t exactly a temper tantrum; it’s probably better described as a…

  • Getting rich slowly on my own terms (47 comments)

    Over the last six months, I have had several articles published at Get Rich Slowly. However, I have never had the pleasure of formally introducing myself. My name is Holly Johnson, and I am a 32 year-old wife and mother of two young children. I work alongside my husband at a small family owned mortuary in the rural Midwest. I began my own journey out of debt a little over two years ago, and it…

  • New life for old DVD movies: The answers to scratches and breaks (17 comments)

    This is a guest post from freelance writer Jessica Ward. DVD games and movies For several years, we’ve fought the occasional skip, fingerprint or ding in our DVD movies, and have typically been able to resolve the damage with our Skip Doctor repair kit, however, sometimes bad (very bad) things happen to good movies. Last month, my 7-year-old daughter got careless with some of her favorites and in the end, two had cracks all the…

  • Once-a-month cooking made easy (76 comments)

    Stephanie Cornais found a cooking method that saved time and money, but it left her exhausted. Stephanie, who blogs about parenthood and healthy living at Mama and Baby Love, would cook a month’s worth of meals in one day, then store them in the freezer. It’s an idea that’s been around for awhile. In fact, J.D. wrote about it back in 2007. By batch cooking, not only do you have healthy, home-cooked meals when dinner…

  • Beyond money: How my community saves me, part two (32 comments)

    After I turned in my last article, I thought of so many other instances of how my community pays big dividends: We got a 50-pound bag of free flour when a warehouse had a fire which slightly damaged the packaging At an auction, an acquaintance wanted a single item, but she had to buy the whole box to get it. Inside the box was a bag of clothespins that I’d been looking for. I offered…

  • Frugality and Financial Independence (99 comments)

    This is the first article from new staff writer Lisa Aberle, who has replaced Tim Sullivan. When I first started reading Get Rich Slowly in 2007 or 2008, financial independence was only a dream. At that time, my husband and I were struggling financially. We had: two mortgages one car payment no emergency fund nothing left over after each paycheck a zillion home improvement projects to do – and no money to do them I…

  • 25 Ways to Give (Without Breaking the Bank) (113 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. In the past nine months I’ve found $12.89 in singles and specie. The cash has shown up in a number of places, but most of it is from coins I picked up. As usual, I’ll squirrel away the found funds until Thanksgiving, at which time I’ll…

  • Ask the Readers: Best Alternatives to Cable Television? (179 comments)

    I’ve written two major articles here at Get Rich Slowly about how to cut costs on cable television. In March 2007, I wrote about cheap alternatives to cable television, and in February 2009, I followed that up by describing how I cut my television bill in half. But it’s been more than three years since I visited this topic, and I’ve started to get email from readers who want an update. But it’s not just…

  • 27 Frugal Uses for a Dead Phone Book (70 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. While consulting a professional about writing-related aches and pains, I was asked to describe my work station. When he heard that I used a laptop flat on the desk he told me that changes must be made. Among other things, he wanted me to get the…

  • Reader Story: Home Haircuts Can Save Time and Money (133 comments)

    This guest post from Shannon D is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. My wonderful husband likes to keep his hair short and precise. He works outdoors but dislikes hats, so keeping his hair looking proper is…

  • Reader Story: A Frugal, Happy Life (95 comments)

    This guest post from Clara is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. This story seems especially appropriate after the news I shared this week. Two and a half years ago, my marriage ended. I left a comfortable…

  • Frugality Advice from Millionaires (59 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jaime Tardy of Eventual Millionaire. After paying off $70,000 and quitting a six-figure job, Jaime became a business coach. She also interviews millionaires every week for tips and advice. Jamie has appeared on CNN, MSNMoney.com, Fortune.com, Success Magazine, the Yahoo homepage, and more. Ever since I was little I’ve been curious about the idea of having one million dollars. My mom told me to marry a rich man (!),…

  • 20 Ways to Spend $20 (77 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Since she just found out she is going to be a grandmother, expect to be bombarded with cute-baby anecdotes about seven months from now. If you draw a paycheck, you’re due an extra $160 in January and February thanks to the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation…

  • Expectations and Your Money (56 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. I started wrapping my gifts in old newspaper years ago. I know. It sounds so cheap it’s almost bah, humbug! Please don’t roll your eyes and stop reading now. Wait! I started doing it because I couldn’t stand the silliness of it all. Most Christmases I wrapped my gifts hours before they were opened, often late at night on Christmas Eve. I’d have a bag full of…

  • Cashing in on Craigslist: How I’ve Saved Thousands of Dollars Buying Used (77 comments)

    In August, I wrote about Ryan Finlay, who makes a living through Craigslist arbitrage. Many readers wanted to hear more about how Ryan uses Craigslist to make and save money. In this guest post, Ryan explains how to use Craigslist to save money on high-ticket items like appliances and furniture. If there’s enough interest, he may share more Craigslist tips in the future. Meanwhile, be sure to check out his new site: ReCraigslist.com. “A penny…

  • Drugstore Price Comparison: Online vs. In-store (46 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman, who recently wrote about her desperate attempt to find authentic tacos al pastor in Austin, Texas. I used to buy most of my drugstore items online. One reason was convenience — I typically have to go to two or three stores to find everything I use, especially since I favor earth- and people-friendly personal care items. But health food stores don’t always carry other basics we use,…

  • How Much Do We Owe Others? (And When Should We Walk Away?) (241 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Last January I loaned money to a friend who was in financial crisis: Her vehicle was about to be repossessed. The transaction troubled me for a number of reasons, which I detailed at my personal website in a post called “I’m not a payday lender. But…

  • How to Save on Your Cell Phone Plan with Secret No-Contract Deals (132 comments)

    This is a guest post from social-media maven Laura Roeder. Laura first told me this story in January, and I used it as the basis for one of my columns for Entrepreneur magazine. Over lunch recently, she offered to write a guest post about her experience. I told her I’d be glad to share it. Secret phone plans? No contracts? Unadvertised payment plans with no interest? These are all available. But you’ll never know until…

  • Frugal Beauty: How to Look Good on a Budget (292 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. Pinching pennies doesn’t mean you can’t make yourself pretty. Yes, it’s true that personal-care products and services can take a big bite out of your budget. By the time you’ve paid for your salon visit, your skin cream, your hair product, and your lip balm, you can easily be out $100 or more in any given…

  • Reader Story: The Product of Frugal Parents (99 comments)

    This guest post from Simon Cunningham is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. A lot of reader stories featured on Get Rich Slowly are from people who got “saved” from bad financial habits, who were burned…

  • How to Spend Money (Even If You Think You Shouldn’t) (70 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money. She also writes about frugality, intentional living, and life in general at her own blog, Surviving And Thriving. Last year the zipper on my winter coat broke. Not before time, mind you; I’d had it so long that I couldn’t remember exactly when I bought it. My best guess is 25 years. Gut reaction: Oh no! I…

  • 10 Ways to Build a Gift Closet That’s Both Deep and Cheap (109 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money. She also writes about frugality, intentional living, and life in general at her own blog, Surviving And Thriving. The holidays are about six months away. Why wait until the last minute to shop? Answer: You shouldn’t. And you won’t have to if you have a decently stocked gift closet. Some people I know keep their eyes open…

  • Reader Story: The Costs and Savings of Bicycle Commuting (186 comments)

    This guest post from Duran Valdez is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. For the past two years, I’ve been riding a bicycle to work. Mostly because I’m cheap. My commute is a 12-mile round trip…

  • Discounted Gift Cards: The New Coupon (49 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money. She also writes about frugality, intentional living, and life in general at her own blog, Surviving And Thriving. I’m currently house-sitting in Anchorage, where one of my duties will be kid-wrangling while my niece does the Alaska Run for Women. The first order of the day: Breakfast at IHOP, my treat — and at 8% less because…

  • Ask the Readers: How Can I Handle “Required” Office Spending? (217 comments)

    “Money is more about mind than it is about math.” — That’s one of the fifteen tenets of the Get Rich Slowly philosophy. By this I mean that psychology and emotion and relationships play a bigger part in our financial choices than the pure mathematics of any given situation. This manifests itself in lots of ways. Sometimes, it even crops up in the workplace. A reader we’ll call Erin wrote recently with the following dilemma:…

  • Breakfast on the Fly — and on the Cheap (146 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money. She also writes about frugality, intentional living, and life in general at her own blog, Surviving And Thriving. Everybody talks about the cost of lunches out. But what about breakfast? How much are those bagels or egg-and-cheese burritos costing you each week? The first meal of the day can be challenging. Some people aren’t hungry when they…

  • When Does Minimalism Go Too Far? (124 comments)

    This is a guest post from Katy Wolk-Stanley of The Non-Consumer Advocate, a blog about frugality, food waste, environmentalism, simple living and finding thrift-store bargains. She describes herself as a “mother, utility bill scholar, laundry hanger-upper, library patron, frequent napper, and Buffy enthusiast.” When not blogging (or napping) Katy works as a high-risk labor and delivery nurse. Katy’s blog has been featured in many major media outlets, including The National Enquirer, which featured Whitney Houston…

  • Reader Story: How I Learned About Frugality from De-Cluttering (121 comments)

    This guest post from Claire Brown is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. I’m writing to you today from sunny London about how I learned frugality by throwing things away. This may sound counter-intuitive; if being…

  • Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without (178 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. My shower is broken. The water comes out just fine, and it doesn’t leak. But the temperature control is busted, so it only comes out at one temperature: as hot as it gets. Here’s the embarrassing part: It’s been like this for a year. Frugal or lazy? When the temperature thingy broke (and here you see…

  • Living Below Your Means Is Like Saving for Retirement Twice (81 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a newly reinvigorated blog, and you can have your day interrupted once or twice by his Twittering. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Hello, GRSers. Today, let’s revisit something I tacked on to the end of my…

  • How to Spend Your Money (256 comments)

    Yesterday, as I was otherwise occupied (I spent five hours writing a post about programmable thermostats, a post nobody will even like!), the conversation on Donna Freedman’s article got a little cranky. Donna wrote about pinching pennies on some things so that she could splurge on others. In Donna’s case, that meant a trip to England. Tyler K., who’s always a little cranky, wrote in response: I’m just waiting for the post where someone’s passion,…

  • Frugality and the Long-Distance Relationship (36 comments)

    This is a guest post from Kelly M., who writes about long-distance relationships at Long-Distance Life. Long-distance relationships can be exciting, challenging, fulfilling, and all sorts of other adjectives…but “frugal” rarely makes the list. And for good reason — the transportation costs alone in maintaining a relationship with someone in a different city, state, or country can pack a powerful punch to your pocketbook. So how do you embrace frugality as a value without devaluing…

  • Five DIY Valentine’s Day Ideas for Frugal Sweethearts (42 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Valentine’s Day is a commercialized holiday, but I say, “So what!” Sure, you don’t need a holiday to show appreciation for your significant other, but why miss out on the extra chance to do it? Besides, you don’t have to celebrate the way the commercials tell you to, with boxes of cream-filled chocolate, stuffed animals, jewelry, or an overpriced prix fixe menu. A cold and miserable V-Day…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do I Motivate My Boyfriend to Save Money? (104 comments)

    Although we cover the topic once or twice a year, I constantly get questions from people who are frustrated by the financial habits of their spouses and partners. Some people are Spenders, and some people are Savers. What can you do to get both partners on the same page? Linda is the most recent GRS reader with a relationship issue. She wrote to ask how to get her boyfriend motivated to save money. Here’s her…

  • Beyond Tupperware: Frugal Food Storage (101 comments)

    This post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. To hear the storage industry tell it, every kitchen needs plastic containers in a dozen sizes. You need specialized storage, too: triangles for wedges of pie, say, or deviled-egg sarcophagi with little divots to cradle each demi-oeuf. Oh, and lots of foil,…

  • My $132,683 Comcast Bill (100 comments)

    This is a guest post from Carl Hendley of The Motley Fool. He’s substituting for Robert Brokamp, the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Brokamp generally contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks, but he’s had the audacity to take a vacation over the holidays, so Hendley is filling in. $132,683 — That’s how much I’m paying for cable. Now, I do have HBO, Showtime, and 386 other…

  • How to Feed Your Soul for Cheap: 12 Ways to Enjoy High Culture for Less (36 comments)

    This post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality, intentional living and lifeitsownself at Surviving And Thriving. The Seattle Art Museum is hosting a show called “Picasso: Masterpieces From the Musee National Picasso, Paris” through 12 January 2011. It costs $20 to see the 150 paintings, sculptures, prints and photos. This is an important show and no doubt…

  • How to Lower Your Heating Bills This Winter (88 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. The chilly season is upon us. If you live in North America, you’ve probably had at least a few cold nights by now. Up in my neck of the woods — in the Boston area — we’ve had our central heat running for a few weeks. Which means we’re in full swing…

  • Save Money on Shipping with Free Boxes from USPS (56 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker previously featured an article on his own blog entitled “How I paid off $15,000 in 9 months by selling my Stuff on Ebay“. There I was, bustling around the kitchen making lunch for my daughter when our late morning routine was interrupted:Boom! Boom! Boom! Milligan and I glanced toward the front door where the thunderous pounding had originated. “Holy cow!” I thought to myself, “There are…

  • Surprising Secrets of the Cheapskates Next Door (98 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jeff Yeager, author of the newly-published The Cheapskate Next Door. Yeager calls himself the Ultimate Cheapskate — and his wife agrees. Yeager is also a contributor at Wise Bread and on the Early Retirement forums. “Sure, we could afford to spend more, but why would we? It wouldn’t make us any happier.” — Those are the words I’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years traveling the country to hear. It’s…

  • How to Use a Food Dehydrator to Preserve Your Harvest (36 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. It’s been a long time since she chimed in around here. Have no fears: She’s the frugal heart of our homestead, and she’s always looking for ways to grow and preserve our food. As Get Rich Slowly readers know, J.D. and I have a thriving garden with maturing fruit trees, monstrous berry plants, and an annual vegetable garden. Much of the time, I turn the garden bounty…

  • Reader Story: Rich Dad, Stingy Dad (201 comments)

    This guest post from Anna is part of the “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general “how I did X” advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. My experience with money is probably the opposite of many readers here. I’ve always had money. I got a…

  • The Rewards of Frugality and Thrift (or, Why We Scrimp and Save) (139 comments)

    Over the past couple of weeks, more than a few GRS readers have complained about the site’s tone. These folks are afraid that Get Rich Slowly is turning into a column that’s only about frugality and self-denial, one that is neglecting the “rich” part of the blog’s title. These concerns came to the fore in last week’s article about remembering to appreciate what I already have. In that discussion, ObjectiveGeek wrote: I want the best…

  • Dress Yourself For Free: How to Host A Clothing Swap (73 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. I spend almost nothing on clothes. According to Mint, I’ve spent $199.50 to clothe my family of five this year. They say the average U.S. household has spent $1258.62. That’s more than six times my spending. It’s been years since I walked into a clothing store, tried on styles I liked and…

  • Reader Story: Surviving and Thriving (36 comments)

    This guest post from Donna Freedman is part of the “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader stories contain general “how I did X” advice, and others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity, and with all sorts of incomes. A few years ago I had about $130 to my name and was struggling to balance…

  • Casting Stones: When Is It Okay to Judge? (239 comments)

    I’ve been stewing over something for the past few days, and I’m finally ready to write about it. I’m not a fan of judging others and their actions. Like Atticus Finch, I believe you never really know a person until you stand in their shoes and walk around in them. But I’m human. Like everyone, there are times I can’t help passing judgment. And although I know that judging others isn’t productive, sometimes I’m at…

  • Reader Story: How I Got Married on the Cheap — And Loved It! (122 comments)

    This guest post from Lars is part of a new feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Every Sunday will include a reader story (in the new “reader stories” category). Some will be general “how I did X” stories, and others will be examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success. I got married last month. It was a bit of a whirlwind romance — at the beginning of 2009, we’d been talking about an…

  • The Pitfalls of Buying in Bulk (75 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sierra Black, a long-time GRS reader and the author of ChildWild, a blog where she writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale. Previously at Get Rich Slowly, Black told us about sweating the big stuff. Buying in bulk is great, right? You get the things you want and need, and pay less for them. As an added bonus, you don’t have to shop as…

  • How to Shop at an Estate Sale (40 comments)

    At 10am yesterday morning, Kris and I climbed into the Mini Cooper and to head for the county fair. We’d only been driving for a few minutes when Kris pointed at a sign. “Look! An estate sale,” she said. “Let’s stop.” Kris and I like estate sales better than garage sales because they usually feature nearly everything a person has ever owned — not just the cast-offs. Family members have generally pulled the plum pieces,…

  • Where to Find Free Activities and Events in Your Area (65 comments)

    This is a guest post from Lynn, a long-time reader of personal-finance blogs. Lynn is a potential Staff Writer for Get Rich Slowly. She is the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of her family, and is working hard to increase her financial health after years of many poor financial choices. Our family has been going through a transformation from a paycheck-to-paycheck family to a family that has money in the bank.  While I wouldn’t say we…

  • Extreme Personal Finance: Daniel Suelo, The Man Without Money (82 comments)

    Previously in my semi-regular Extreme Personal Finance series, I’ve highlighted: A couple who paid off their $220,000 mortgage in three years People who live on $12,000 a year Don Schrader, the man who lives on $10 a day Rina Kelley, the reporter who lived for one month as a freegan Yesterday, my friend Castle sent me the story of a man who makes these other folks look like spendthrifts. The man without money Writing for…

  • How to save money on food: Great tips from three years of Get Rich Slowly (36 comments)

    While driving to our monthly book group discussion on Saturday, Kris and I had a conversation with our friend Courtney. Courtney’s family is beginning to feel a financial squeeze. Her husband’s employer is cutting jobs. To keep working, he’ll have to take a pay cut and move back to the position he left a couple of years ago. “I’ve started to read personal finance books,” Courtney told us. “We know we’re going to have to…

  • How to Live a Rich Life — On a Budget (23 comments)

    This is a guest post from Philip Brewer of Wise Bread. For today only, Wise Bread is giving away $15 Ebates bonuses and a chance to win one of five Flip Cams with the purchase of their new book 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget. A bon vivant is a person who lives well — someone who enjoys the best things in life, especially with regard to food and drink. The stereotypical…

  • The Secrets of Financial Freedom: An Interview with the Millionaire Next Door (141 comments)

    Today is the last day of Financial Literacy Month. To tie everything together, I thought it would be fun to share an interview my real millionaire next door, a man we’ll call John. He used the basic tenets of money management to build wealth and to retire early. Here’s how I described John when I first wrote about him last year: John is a 71-year-old retired shop teacher who lives in a modest ranch house…

  • A Very Small Adventure: Riding the Bus (119 comments)

    I had a big day today, though I’m sure many of you will laugh: I rode the bus for the first time. Actually, I’ve been on buses many times before. I rode a school bus as a child, and I’ve used public transportation in other towns. I’ve even used the light-rail trains here in Portland. But I had never used the city’s bus system until this afternoon. Brave new world I took my new-used Mini…

  • Some Thoughts on the Return to Traditional Skills (105 comments)

    I give several media interviews each month. As the economy changes, so do the questions. Recently, as you can imagine, reporters have been asking me what people can do to save money. This question gets boring after a while. There are only so many ways a fellow can say, “Spend less than you earn by reducing unnecessary expenses.” Lately I’ve been trying to spice up interviews by promoting what I call “traditional skills”. When I…

  • Magazines (and Websites) About Homesteading and Self-Sufficiency (107 comments)

    When I was a boy, my father used to buy Mother Earth News from the grocery store. The magazine was filled with stories about self-sufficient country living, the sort of thing my dad aspired to. I’d read the magazine after he was finished, but never really understood the appeal of building your own greenhouse or raising goats. Now, as an adult, it makes a little more sense. Kris and I are not radically self-sufficient, but…

  • Recession Romance: Make a Delicious Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home (59 comments)

    With Valentine’s Day approaching, I polled my Twitter followers for their favorite frugal and romantic date ideas. Some of the great responses included: From @Finc_Confluence: “A photo scavenger hunt worked well for us recently. Inexpensive, memorable, and a great conversation piece!” From @MrsMicah: “Borrow an old movie from the library, enjoy with blankets and maybe hot chocolate. We had fun with The Awful Truth recently.” From @JoyfulAbode: “Go for a walk and hold hands (very…

  • The Razor’s Edge: Lessons in True Wealth (161 comments)

    Our friends have a profound effect on our personal finance habits. Some friends can lead us to spending and to debt. Others offer insight into the virtues of thrift. For me, my friend Sparky has been the latter. Through his example, I learned that frugality can help me achieve my goals. “Develop a plan that is so amazing, so glowing, that you are willing to walk blurry-eyed to work every day to make the money…

  • Book Review: 365 Ways to Live Cheap! (28 comments)

    Today I am reviewing new books written by two colleagues: Trent from The Simple Dollar and Leo from Zen Habits. As you read these reviews, please remember that I am friends with both authors. Mary Hunt bills herself as America’s favorite cheapskate. In 2005, she published a little volume entitled Everyday Cheapskate’s Greatest Tips, which contained “500 simple strategies for smart living”. Hunt’s book didn’t offer any sort of narrative or broad overview of money…

  • In Defense of Buying Books (108 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Ann Zerkle, a Get Rich Slowly lurker, and the founder of Heroes of Capitalism. I know J.D. has posted many times about how going to the library saves money, but I personally love to buy books. Even after reading the arguments about saving money over the year, going to the library and everything else, I still think buying some books is good for me. This…

  • Cost to Drive: Simple Web Tools for Budgeting Road Trips (32 comments)

    Making a long road trip soon? Sure, gas prices are low right now, but you’ll still have to pay at the pump to motor into the next great adventure. That means budgeting is essential. Many frugal travelers use apps and online tools to help them factor all costs. Here are some of the more popular options: AAA Gas Price Planner Gas Buddy Cost to Drive Fueleconomy.gov Travel Math Which one do you like to use?…

  • How to Afford Anything (But Not Everything) (61 comments)

    You can have anything you want — but you can’t have everything you want. That’s the lesson I learned from a recent conversation with my cousin. And that’s the lesson photographer Ken Rockwell imparts in an essay that explains how to afford anything. Our ability to buy expensive toys has nothing to do with how much money we do or don’t earn. Like everything in life, it has everything to do with how well you…

  • Could You Eat Healthfully on One Dollar a Day? (94 comments)

    “How much does it really cost to eat a healthy diet?” asks Tara Parker-Pope in a recent New York Times article. Among other findings, she notes: Nearly a billion people, or about 15% of the world population, live on a dollar a day for food. [Note: Obviously the cost of living varies from country-to-country — spending a dollar a day for food in Portland is different than spending a dollar a day for food in…

  • Faces of World Poverty: 20 Arresting Photographs (34 comments)

    What do we picture when we think about poverty? What stereotypes do we have about what poverty looks like? What do they mask from us? What do they keep us from seeing? While putting together my two main posts for Blog Action Day, I came across a number of arresting photographs depicting poverty around the world. It became clear to me that poverty takes many forms — poverty has many faces. These are a few…

  • Once-a-Month Shopping: Save More by Shopping Less (147 comments)

    How often do you go to the supermarket? Could you get by making only one trip per month? What if it saved you money? My wife and I are both reading America’s Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides. During his time as an ad salesman, Steve was “shocked to read in a food industry publication that grocers expect six of ten items consumers pick up in the store to be unplanned purchases.” Steve and…

  • A Practical Wedding (39 comments)

    Speaking of weddings, Kate F. wrote the other day to share a tip: I am just starting the wedding planning process and have been really disheartened by the wedding industry and the realization that what to me is a lot to spend ($5000) is literally laughable by most involved in the industry.  I finally came across a blog that I feel fits with my vision of a simple, debt-free wedding: A Practical Wedding. I’ve never…

  • Five Tactics for Pursuing Voluntary Simplicity (26 comments)

    One of my favorite personal finance bloggers is Philip Brewer at Wise Bread. He writes long, thoughtful articles about the philosophy of money, not just on tips and tricks to save at the grocery store. Brewer recently posted a piece called “What I’ve Been Trying to Say” that summarizes his philosophy. Explaining why he believes voluntary simplicity can be a great choice for many people, he writes: You can choose how you want to live. If…

  • Saving at the Supermarket: 15 Great Grocery Shopping Tips (73 comments)

    Kris and I went grocery shopping this weekend. We stopped at Bob’s Red Mill — a local health-food store — to use some “buy one, get one free” coupons. “You can get anything you want,” Kris told me, “except hot cereal.” “Why can’t I get hot cereal?” I asked. “I love hot cereal.” “I know,” Kris said. “But you buy it all the time. You buy it faster than you eat it. Just last week,…

  • The Art of Frugal Living (43 comments)

    Christine just sent me a National Public Radio story about the frugal artists of New York City. Columbia University recently released a study of 213 visual artists over the age of 61. Their average income? $30,000 a year. According to the NPR story: Most of them said they were satisfied with their lives. However, many reported that they also have had to make daily economic compromises. They don’t eat out, buy clothes at flea markets…

  • Unit Pricing: Get More Food for Less Money (66 comments)

    This is a guest post from Charlie Park at PearBudget. Recently, Get Rich Slowly readers got upset at the idea of spending $6 on a gallon of milk. Reading that, I had to chuckle a little bit: Shortly before we had to give it up, our milk went up to $11 a gallon. Yup. You read that right: $11. A gallon. Technically, the milk was free, but the boarding and care of the animals that…

  • Ask the Readers: Buy a Car or Pay Off Debt? (124 comments)

    Earlier this week, April wrote with a personal finance predicament. She and her husband need to buy a car, but it’s not something they’d budgeted to do any time soon. Fate intervened: My husband and I are trying to pay down our debt and to save money. This morning he called to tell me that he had been rear-ended in traffic. He’s fine, thankfully, but he thinks they’ll total his car, which was paid for….

  • How to Save Hundreds by Playing the Drugstore Game (100 comments)

    This is a guest post from Cathy, who writes about family finances, cooking, and parenting at Chief Family Officer. I love the philosophy of getting rich slowly by doing the fundamentals: spend less than you earn, pay off debt, and invest wisely. One way that I save money is with what I call The Drugstore Game. The Drugstore Game involves combining manufacturer and store coupons, and taking advantage of a store’s best deals. When played…

  • Use Raspberry Leaves to Make Your Own Herbal Tea (18 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. I drink a lot of herbal tea, but until recently I hadn’t considered making my own. When we moved into our house, one of the first things we did was prepare an area in the yard for cane berry crops. We planted blackberries, marionberries, and raspberries. Now, four years later, the canes have grown humongous in Oregon’s favorable climate. They’re so long that we’ve criss-crossed them on…

  • Get Quality Stuff For Cheap from Local College Students (35 comments)

    Almost a year ago, a reader named Emily wrote with a great tip about finding good deals from local college students. I lost her e-mail until recently, but that’s okay. Her advice is perfect for this time of year. Here’s what she says: If you happen to live around a university, the end of the semester (especially the end of the spring semester and during the summer) is the absolute best time to get great…

  • A Real Millionaire Next Door (136 comments)

    Kris and I love our neighborhood. People are friendly and helpful, yet mostly mind their own business. It’s a perfect combination. One of our favorite neighbors is the old guy next door. Let’s call him John. John is a 71-year-old retired shop teacher who lives in a modest ranch house on half an acre, the same house he’s had for over forty years. He has an old barn filled with salvaged lumber, outdated appliances, and…

  • Frugality in Practice: The DIY Footrest (41 comments)

    I’ve been working at home for a month now. I like it. The first week was a little scary, but the past few weeks have been immensely productive. I’ve caught up on e-mail. I’ve conducted and given some interviews. And I’ve planned some posts for the future. Most of my day is spent at my desk writing. The first few days were awful. My wrists hurt. I couldn’t find the right chair height to match…

  • Ask the Readers: What Do You Splurge On? (161 comments)

    I write a lot about frugality, about saving for the future. But what about enjoying life today? My friend Matt recently asked, “Amid all the saving and sacrifices you make to keep your financial life in order, what is your one extravagance that you deem worth spending money on? I know with you it’s that Filson clothing stuff, right? Maybe Apple products?” He’s right. I love both Filson and Apple. I don’t often splurge on…

  • How to Live on Less and Love It (64 comments)

    Charlotte forwarded a great article from Mother Earth News. (When did they go online? It seems so antithetical to their nature!) In “Live on Less and Love It!”, Craig Idlebrook describes 75 ways that his family enjoys life while spending and consuming less. And he should know. He’s a practitioner of extreme personal finance: On paper, my wife and I are poor. How poor? In 2005 we made $4,303.84 combined; in 2004 we made half…

  • Ask the Readers: What Can I Do If My Girlfriend Isn’t Serious About Money? (90 comments)

    In the Get Rich Slowly forums, DannyBoy has a question that I think many people face: “What can I do if my girlfriend isn’t serious about money?” He writes: I’m the sort of person who essentially looks into every area of his life to save, start investing, and be smart about money as much as possible. Do you think that somebody like myself, who cares so much about where his money goes, can be happy…

  • Minimalist Meals: Fantastic Food in Ten Minutes or Less (38 comments)

    One of the best ways to save money on food is to eat more meals at home. Better yet, eat more meals that you prepare instead of foraging from boxes and cans. With today’s busy lifestyles, this can be a difficult transition to make, especially if you’ve never been much of a cook. But quick, cheap, healthy food is possible. Mark Bittman bills himself as “The Minimalist” — he’s all about simple, informal meals using…

  • My Frugal Valentine: Cheap Ways to Say “I Love You” (33 comments)

    I don’t like Valentine’s Day — it fosters the notion that romance is something for special occasions. Worse, it’s yet another commercial holiday filled with cards, chocolates, flowers, and gifts. I reject the idea that romance is only for special occasions, and I reject the idea that buying stuff somehow demonstrates affection. I believe it’s important for couples to find ways to express their love year-round. If you do choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, don’t…

  • A Life Well-Lived is Not About the Bling (82 comments)

    I love real-life stories of people who get rich slowly. Paul Navone, a 78-year-old resident of Millville, New Jersey, is one of those. On December 21st, Navone donated $1 million to Cumberland County College. He still has millions left. How did he earn his money? The old-fashioned way: lots of hard work. Navone never attended high school. He began working in local glass factories at the age of 16. In 50 years, he never made…

  • Frugality in Practice: Keeping Warm in Winter (96 comments)

    Cold cold cold — I am cold. Remember George Bailey’s “drafty old barn” in It’s a Wonderful Life? Our place is like that. This 100-year-old farmhouse is cold all winter long. There are drafts at the doors, there’s inadequate insulation, and we have 30 windows in 1800 square feet. (Our old house had eight windows in 1400 square feet.) Every year, we do a little more to make this place energy efficient, but it’s a…

  • Thrifty Tips from the Yardsale Queen (20 comments)

    This is a guest-post from Chris Heiska, The Yardsale Queen. Some people believe the myth that there’s only junk at yardsales and thrift stores. That is absolutely not true. Buying at yardsales doesn’t necessarily mean that you are buying someone’s used, dirty castoffs. I often find Christmas wrapping paper still attached to the box, or a wedding card tucked inside of a box that was probably a duplicate wedding gift (and now the present that…

  • Ask the Readers: What if You’re Frugal But Your Roommates Aren’t? (62 comments)

    Eleanor wrote with a question that could test even the mightiest personal finance expert. “What,” she asks, “can you do when you want to save money and your roommates don’t care?” I share a house with four roommates.  This saves me at least $200 a month from what I would be paying if I lived in an apartment.  But roommates raise expenses in other, unexpected ways.  I have been trying to cut down on monthly…

  • The Cost-Per-Day Expense Chart (25 comments)

    Elizabeth has a lifehack that allows her to manage both money and space. She writes: “This helped me curb my lifestyle choices when I was in high school and first on my own.” Here is her guest entry. Possessions scare me. My parents are pack-rats, and their house is full of things that have no right to be there. Desk space is taken up by dirty coffee cups, stacks of notebooks, and priceless, irreplaceable piles…

  • Manage Your Finances Like a Professional Gambler: Small Things Add Up (60 comments)

    Here’s a guest entry from Tynan. This is the first of a series of posts about how a professional gambler looks at money. Look for additional installments in coming weeks. I was eighteen, and a freshman in college. For the past few years I’d been making a few hundred dollars a month selling Palm Pilots on eBay. It was a lot of money for a teenager with no real expenses, but of course I spent…

  • Money and Values: When Frugality Goes Too Far (79 comments)

    Title changed to more accurately reflect post content. Thanks for pointing this out, guys! Frugal folks are often condemned as cheap, but these things are not the same. But sometimes there is a danger of becoming too concerned with money. Tawra Kellam warns about crossing the line from frugality to something less ethical. There are times when it’s tempting to lie, steal or break one of the other 10 Commandments to get a good deal…

  • How Not to Be Frugal: Too Many Magazine Subscriptions (26 comments)

    Sometimes a great deal isn’t. Because I have a small computer consulting business, I’ve been placed on a mailing list for “corporate rate” magazine subscriptions. Corporate rate subscriptions are unbelievably cheap, on the order of $10 or $12 a year for many magazines. Being the frugal fellow that I am, when I received my first offer for a corporate-rate subscription, I signed up. Sure, it was a subscription for Business 2.0, a magazine I’d never…

  • Don’t Confuse Frugality With Depriving Yourself (7 comments)

    Jonni McCoy’s Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two Income Economy lists eleven miserly guidelines designed to help families reduce expenses. The first of these is: Don’t confuse frugality with depriving yourself. This is the most important aspect of being successful at saving money. […] If any money-saving activity makes you feel cheap or tight, you will eventually abandon your efforts. That is not the price we need to pay to reach our…

  • 26 cheap camping tips (24 comments)

    Backpacking and camping are awesome frugal activities. It costs nothing to take a hike. It costs a bit more to camp overnight, but even that can be done inexpensively. While browsing the web for camping stuff, I stumbled upon a great list of frugal suggestions that were originally posted to the Usenet group rec.scouting on 03 December 1994! According to the original poster: These low-cost equipment/ideas/fixes for Scouting and camping in general [were] originally found…

  • Ten Things You Shouldn’t Buy New (14 comments)

    Liz Pulliam Weston at Money Central lists ten things you shouldn’t buy new. Some things are best purchased new — lingerie pops to mind — but lots of other stuff depreciates quickly while still having plenty of useable life left. Here are ten items where the cost vs. use equation strongly tilts toward buying used. Books — Most books are read only once. Books are also easy to find cheap, or at your public library….

  • The Frugal Photographer (6 comments)

    Expensive hobbies and a frugal lifestyle can be tough to balance. Few hobbies are more expensive than photography. So what’s a frugal photographer to do? The three best cheap things you can do to improve your photography skill are: Learn your camera. Read your camera manual, and carry it with you. This is the cheapest improvement you can make. Learn what your camera can and cannot do. Make a lot of photographs. Take a class…