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Zero Spending Challenge

September 22, 2009 • Paige

Issue a “Zero Spending Challenge” to your family to find ways to use what you already have and avoid any extra shopping trips as long as possible. This works very well for people who get paid once or twice per month.

Plan your meals around the items you already have in your pantry, get creative and find ways to use the stuff you threw in the back because you weren’t sure what to do with it. There are great websites like which have an ingredient search that helps you find recipes that use specific ingredients.

When you run out of cleaning supplies or disinfectant spray, mix up some home made using about a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water, or scour with salt and baking soda.

Find free activities you enjoy, such as take a walk to the park, visit the library, do a movie swap with friends.

Categories: Being Frugal
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Stop Electricity Leaks

September 11, 2009 • Paige

Many devices in your home use a small amount of electricity even when they are turned off. Your VCR and microwave draw power continuously for the time display. Does your coffee maker have a clock or a timer?

Go around your home and make a list of the devices or appliances that have a clock or digital display on them. Each one is using 3 to 5 watts of electricity. You may be surprised to find out how much electricity is flowing out of your wall sockets day and night.

There is practically no reason why you shouldn’t unplug most of these devices while you are not using them. My VCR takes about two seconds to reorient itself when I plug it back in, but that is a small trade so that it is not “leaking” electricity the other 23 hours of the day I’m not using it. Instead of leaving your coffee maker in automatic timer mode all night, just turn the power on when you wake up.

Getting rid of electricity “leaks” in your home won’t save you hundreds of dollars, but taking the time to evaluate areas of waste will definitely add up.

Categories: Being Frugal
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Coupons: Saving Money or Impulse Buying?

September 1, 2009 • Paige

When you use coupons, are you buying more just for the bargain? Before you start looking through the coupon insert in the newspaper, do you make out your grocery list? Are you scanning only for coupons that can be used for the items on your list?

My Grandmother taught me that coupons get you looking for more things to buy. “I don’t need it right now, but it’s on SALE! ” I’m definitely not telling you that you can’t save money with coupons, but keep in mind that coupons are a marketing tool intended to sell more products.

Most coupons are for pre-made meals, mixes or boxed dinners, so I almost never use them. I don’t find coupons for basic items such as dry beans, eggs, flour, or rice.

I have discovered that there are a few cases in which a bargain brand just doesn’t work out, and I much prefer a particular brand name product. That’s what I’m looking for when I scan the coupon inserts. Some grocery store loyalty cards will allow you to double and even triple some coupons, so if you use them wisely you can make out like a bandit.

Categories: Being Frugal
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