Festival of Frugality #301: Festively Frugal

Written by Karen Bryan

Welcome to the 310th Festival of Frugality: Festively Frugal, published on 20 December 2011. Being frugal is one of the tenents of Help Me To Save, so I’m happy to offer readers even more tips on saving money from fellow personal finance writers with a focus on enoying a low cost, debt free Christmas.

Enjoying a Frugal Christmas

Glen Craig presents What About a Gift-Less Christmas? posted at Free From Broke in which he explains that spending way too much money and time around the holidays buying expensive gifts is because people want them. Try a gift-less Christmas and buck consumerism. Yes I’m all for that, I think it’s become almost a habit to overspend on gifts. I recently read that 1 in 3 Britons will go in debt over Christmas.

Cindy Brick presents A Dozen Tips For Christmas Savings – Even At the Last Minute posted at Brickworks. So even if you didn’t stock up on presents in the January sales, there may still be some budget options available to you.

David Leonhardt presents Proud to Be a Grinch posted at Self-help Happiness Blog. A grinch is defined as being someone who says they can’t think of anything they want as a Christmas gift, as they already have more “stuff” than they need. Well perhaps if there were more grinches, there’d be less post-Christmas debt?

A Thrifty Mrs presents How Christmas is the best time to teach your children money lessons posted at TotallyMoney in which she offers tips on how to teach your children frugal lessons over Christmas.

Jon presents 25 Christmas Gifts Under $25 That Don’t Suck posted at Free Money Wisdom. Being a frugal blogger he’s written about top frugal Christmas gift ideas! Instead of giving you general ideas, he’s handpicked 25 totally awesome gift ideas that don’t suck.

Hank presents Three Christmas Gifts To Give Your Children That Keep On Giving posted at Money Q&A giving some examples of Christmas gifts to your children such as Roth IRA contributions that will keep on giving long after the holiday season has ended.

Don presents Controlling Christmas Costs posted at Money Reasons in which he explains how he controls Christmas costs.

Beating Broke presents Have a Holiday Spending Plan: Don’t Dread January posted at Beating Broke advising that if you follow these tips you’ll rein in your holiday purchases this season.

Mama Squirrel presents Gift Baskets and Christmas Cheer at the Treehouse posted at Dewey’s Treehouse which is a photo post showing her mostly-thrifted Christmas decorations and gift baskets.

Steven Zussino presents http://www.groceryalerts.ca/ posted at Grocery Alerts highlighting that some Canadian merchants promote shopping to offer bonuses to entice shoppers to purchase their gift cards. For example, when buying a $50 gift card you might earn a bonus $10 gift card (giving you a bonus of 20% return).

Dough Roller presents 2011 Holiday Tipping Guide posted at Dough Roller offering tips on how much you should tip by providing points of reference to avoid going overboard.

Being Frugal (All Year Round)

Simon presents https://www.cafecredit.com/free-credit-score/ posted at CafeCredit.com where he reviews the most popular ‘free credit score’ websites in the United States. Use his chart to quickly compare 37 different credit check services – and chose the one that works best for you.

Kevin presents Thousandaire Countdown #2 HTPC Rap posted at Thousandaire. I loved Kevin’s rap rendition on how to save money by using a Home Theatre Personal Computer or linking your laptop to your TV, compared to subscribing to cable TV.

Aloysa presents Is Hoarding The New Frugal? posted at My Broken Coin in which describes a friend who is a very frugal person: counting every penny, evaluating every purchase, and doing research before deciding to buy anything whether it is a car or a pair of shoes. There are some who would argue that you shouldn’t focus too much on penny pinching but instead concenrate on earning more and making wise investments. I think you need a bit of both.

Money Beagle presents Using Used Toothbrushes For Cleaning: Yes Or No? posted at Money Beagle in which husband and wife disagree on whether using old toothbrushes for cleaning is gross or frugal. I use old toothbrushes for cleaning around taps (faucets to my north American friends) and plug holes.

Emmie presents Renovating Your Home on a Budget posted at Wallet Watcher in which she explains that by doing pre-renovation research on design, materials and colour scheme and adopting the above-mentioned strategies, it is possible to cut costs without compromising on quality.

Philip presents Exploring Extended Stay Options posted at PT Money Personal Finance in which he discusses extended stay options, giving sources for doing further research, and suggesting reasons that might help a family save money on travel. Personally I doubt if you can beat rates like the £12 rooms in the Travelodge UK sales for value for money.

Lisa presents Saving At Home: 10 Success Tips posted at Thriftability. She stresses the importance of developing the right attitude towards saving money. If you can project the right frame of mind, the entire family can have a healthy view on saving. Develop a habit of not wasting resources and making a conscious effort toward keeping more of our hard-earned cash is do-able, if you put your mind to it. I do think that being frugal living and spending less do become second mature, once you’ve practised then for a while.

kc presents The Ring posted at Psycho Money. He relates how he refused to give into the pressure to get into debt to buy an showy, expensive engagement ring for his fiancee.

Kennedi presents How to Make Your Own Beauty Products posted at Face and Fitness illustrating how you can save money by making your own skin creams, moisturizers, toner, scrubs and exfoliant at home. I’ve never tried this as I usually find bargains as stores such as Superdrug.

Julie presents The Top Three Things I’ve Sold Online posted at The Family CEO in which she lists the top three things that she sold online that were big wins for her, illustrating that you can make some extra money by selling unused things you have lying around.

101 Centavos presents Caffe Break: Walk-away Negotiating posted at 101 Centavos. I agree that being willing to walk away from a negotiation can lead to you getting a better deal but you have to take the risk of losing the deal altogether.

Roshawn Watson presents 3 Powerful Ways To Decrease Your Financial Stress posted at Watson Inc. She highlights that with 61% of people living from paycheck to paycheck, financial disaster is hovering close by. This makes it all too easy to turn to debt as a solution which probably leads to ever increasing debt. I think it’s simpler to live debit free in the first place, by living within your means.

Michael presents The Best Bargain in the Insurance Industry: Renter’s insurance posted at Begging To Retire in which he relates how he just purchased his first renter’s insurance policy which cost less than a month of auto insurance and yet protects almost everything he owns.

FMF presents A Great Way to Save on Weddings that You’re Bound to Hate posted at Free Money Finance which advises on how to save money on weddings. Simple. Don’t go. Although this sounds harsh, a polite refusal could be the best option if you aren’t very close to the bride or groom.

Cutting the Cost of Motoring

Robert presents How Your Credit History Impacts Your Car Insurance posted at The College Investor which highlights how you can save money on your car insurance by ensuring you have good credit.

Echo presents How Often Should You Service Your Vehicle? posted at Boomer & Echo. He’s been conditioned to believe that he needs to change his car’s engine oil and filter every 5,000 kilometres, or every three months, whichever comes first.  I doubt if that’s necessary as our  car’s service schedule states it should be done once a year or every 10,000 miles. Doing oil changes more often just sounds like it’ll increase the cost of running a car and inflate the garage’s profits.

Crystal presents The Pros and Cons of a Prius from an Owner’s Mouth posted at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff which examines the pros and cons we see of owning a Prius. I think that hybrid cars are way overpriced and I believe that we get better value from our diesel supermini which returns an average miles per gallon of 67. I’m not even sure a hybrid car is better for the environment, as I’ve read their batteries are difficult to dispose of.

Avoiding Scams

Odysseas presents Calling Customer Service? A New Scam is in Town posted at Wallet Blog in which he describes how scammers are buying up phone numbers that are very similar to high-call-volume numbers, such as those for customer service departments of large mainstream companies, just so they can trick us into giving them money. Dial the wrong number when trying to reach American Express and you might end up losing money. There seem to be so many scams on the go, that you need to be very vigilant to avoid losing money.

Saving Money on Food

SavingMentor presents Using Freezer Cooking as a Way to Reduce Your Grocery Budget posted at HowToSaveMoney.ca in which they advise not to be intimidated by freezer cooking. It can be as easy or as hard as you make it. If you just simply double your recipes when you are cooking your dinner, you will have a stocked freezer and more money in the bank, before you know it.

John presents Healthy Food That Is Cheap: Kale posted at Passive Family Income. John extols the virtues of kale, a low cost healthy vegetable which is not only very good for you, but it is darn sight cheap compared to other food options.

Control Your Cash presents “控制现金”人造橙色鸡 posted at Control Your Cash arguing that eating at a restaurant, in the example given, one a step below P.F. Chang’s “upscale casual” category, can be financially savvy.

Miss T. presents Saving Money by Taking Your Own Lunches to Work posted at Prairie Eco Thrifter. If you work out how much you’re spending on work lunches in the average work week, you might be surprised to know just how much money is being frittered away. You can save money by taking your own lunches to work and depending on what you’ve previously been grabbing in your lunch break, it might be a lot healthier too.

Spending Less on Shopping

Jake Gibson presents 4 Super Awesome Deal Sites to Check Out Now posted at NerdWallet Credit Card Blog in which he desribes how to save more on your online purchases with the most unique and bargain-savvy sites on the Web.

Marissa presents Ipad 2 vs Samsung Galaxy posted at Thirty Six Months. She reviewed both products and came to the conclusion that the Galaxy is better value for money. Nevertheless she still yearns for the ipad, a triumph of brand marketing over rationality?

Miranda presents How to Save on Shipping to Canada posted at Financial Highway in which she relates that although online shopping can be a great money saver, shipping to Canada often negates any savings. So she offers a few tips on how to save when shipping to Canada. I prefer to only purchase from sites which offer free delivery and returns like Debenhams online.

Lina Zussino presents http://www.babyalerts.ca/ posted at Baby Alerts highlighting ways to save money on vitamins for mums-to-be.

Getting the Most from Work

PITR presents Keep My Day Job? posted at Passive Income To Retire. Although their plan is to retire with passive income, they have often questioned at what point they’ll quit their day job. I think it can be too easy to be seduced into dismising the benefits of being an employee such as steady salary and benefits such as sick pay and employer contributions to your pension, by the lure of running your own business. What if your business doesn’t meet income projections?

Paula presents Why You Should Live FAR Away From Your Job posted at Afford Anything. Although many people argue that you can save money — in commuting costs — by living close to your job. But sometimes, the savings you have from living on the outskirts of town outweigh the costs of living closeby. However I think you have to take into account the time you spend commuting to and from work.

Mike Collins presents Are You Leaving Money on the Table with Your 401k? posted at Saving Money Today in which he explains that you could be turning down free money by not taking full advantage of your employer matching in your 401k plan.

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