16 cheap ways to eat healthy

Eating healthy is important.

Eating healthy:

  • Lowers disease risks
  • Increases productivity
  • Gives you more energy
  • Makes you stronger

You probably think eating healthy is expensive. I'll be honest — it is. But there are tricks to spare your savings account and keep it low cost. Here are sixteen ways to eat more healthily while keeping it cheap. Continue reading...

More about...Food, Frugality, Health & Fitness

Thrifty Tips for Shopping Garage Sales from the Yardsale Queen

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 probably cost $40 in the store is selling for $5 at a yardsale).

The nicer stuff does get snapped up quickly, so persistence is the key. I often stop by the thrift store in my town two or more times a week to see what "new" stuff has come in. Often the cashier says to me, "Oh, we just put this out today."

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More about...Frugality

Renting vs. buying: The realities of home-ownership

This is a guest-post from Tim Ellis, author of Seattle Bubble, a blog and forum dedicated to discussing real estate market conditions in the Seattle area.

"If you rent, you're throwing away your money."
"Owning your own home is a forced savings plan."
"Home ownership is an excellent path to build wealth."

You've probably heard statements like these plenty of times. On television, radio, the internet, and in casual conversation. Such sentiments are common in any discussion that involves home-buying and personal finances. It's common knowledge that buying a home is a better financial move than renting. After all, you're building equity instead of throwing away your money, right? Well, maybe not quite... Rather than assuming the "common knowledge" on this subject is accurate, let's take a look for ourselves at some of the financial differences between renting and home-buying.

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More about...Home & Garden

Career advice for the college graduate

This article was written by Lisa Lessley Briscoe.

My friend (and fellow Bearcat) Lisa writes: "I was just poking around on GRS (I don't usually read) and noticed that you'd posted an entry for college graduates recently. Funny how summer rolls around and you start thinking about stuff." She's passed along some additional advice for those just entering the workplace.

Congratulations, you just graduated from an excellent liberal arts college!

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More about...Career, Education

How to eat vegetarian on the cheap

I recently posted two articles for frugal carnivores: a guide to cheap cuts of beef and another one on how to buy a side of beef. GRS-reader Sally has produced an introduction to eating vegetarian for cheap. Though her tips are for herbivores, many are useful to omnivores, as well.

About a year-and-a-half ago, for health reasons, my husband and I committed ourselves to a mostly vegetarian lifestyle. At home we eat entirely vegetarian; when we eat out we allow ourselves to choose meat. It's also a priority for us to avoid the pesticides in non-organic produce and the hormones that come with non-organic dairy products. Here's how we eat a ton of fruits and veggies at a fraction of the price you might expect.

Our top strategy is to eat locally-produced foods as often as possible. (Actually, eating locally is a priority for us based on both our physiological needs and the need for Americans to reduce oil consumption. Produce at the grocery store has traveled, on average, 1500 miles to reach us!) Because we live in an Atlanta apartment with no yard or porch, we are unable to grow anything ourselves except for herbs — so we seek out local farmers. (If you'd care to try an urban garden, this video is a good resource.) Locally-grown foods are sold to us at the peak of their flavor and nutritional value, making them more enjoyable. Buying from local farmers, we are also able to ask whether the foods we are buying have been grown using pesticides. (The organic certification process is expensive for small farmers, so some small farmers may use organic methods but not have government certification for years, if ever.) Continue reading...

More about...Food, Frugality

The cost-per-day expense chart

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 of loose paper. My Mom's office, the biggest room in the house, has three narrow pathways: one to her computer, one to her bathroom, and one to her closet (which will not open because there is too much stuff inside and outside of it). Scary!

When I became a college student with a (very small) room of my own, I learned how rewarding it is to be in control of your living space, and how important thriftiness is on a student-sized budget. This is how I came up with the following method of worth assessment: the cost-per-day expense chart. How much does something you own cost per day you use it? And how long until your assets break even?

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More about...Frugality

Manage your finances like a professional gambler

Here's a guest entry from Tynan. This post is about how a professional gambler looks at money.

Small Things Add Up

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 it all. My knowledge of personal finance was fuzzy at best. Naturally I squandered any money I made.

Then, through a strange series of events, I became a professional gambler. It happened fast, and soon my "studies" were being neglected for long nights of blackjack, roulette, and video poker. Eventually I dropped out of school to make serious money, and thus began my real financial education.

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More about...Planning

How To Protect Yourself From Lifestyle Inflation

Jonathan at My Money Blog has been writing about personal finance for two years now. Here's some excellent advice on the standard-of-living trap.

One thing I worry about is lifestyle inflation. No matter how little or how much someone earns, their spending tends to match their income. When you're living the student life, your friends are also broke, and it's easy to eat frozen pizza for dinner and manage without a car. That was probably one of the funnest periods in your life! But when you have more money, you start looking to upgrade: a nicer car, a bigger house, brand name clothes, cooler gadgets. Call it peer pressure, entitlement, or simply money burning a hole in your pocket.

As we progress along our career paths, here are a couple of things that my wife and I are trying to do in order to try and inflation-proof our spending:

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More about...Budgeting, Planning

Intro to Mutual Funds: Index Funds

Before I delete the GRS forums, I'm moving the best posts here. Last month I shared Vintek's introduction to mutual funds. Here he explains index funds.

In my previous discussion of mutual funds, I mentioned index funds:

Along came index funds, and this was hailed as the ultimate in investing. You'd invest not in just a basket of stocks, but in the entire market. Since the manager wasn't required to do research and pick stocks (all he had to do was buy it all and hold it), his fee was reduced to a fraction of an actively managed fund's fees (about 0.2%). Yes, you could have years of losses (2000, 2001 and 2002 were the most recent), but studies show that the market always recovered, even if some of the companies in the index didn't. If you wanted put your investing on autopilot and be assured of a long-term (any 20 year period since the 1920s had an average gain of 10% per year) winner, this was the way to go.

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More about...Investing