It’s fall festival season, when people celebrate the harvest with food and wine festivals (it’s time to pick the grapes, chop down the basil, and pull the last remaining lettuce!) The world’s most famous beer festival, Oktoberfest, just ended, while the ultimate fall harvest festival, Thanksgiving, is about to begin.
Festivals celebrate abundance. Well, except for this one. This festival celebrates conservation.
Welcome to the Festival of Frugality.
You may be wondering what a “Festival of Frugality” is. It’s a weekly listing of the best blog posts that discuss frugal living. Various blogs take turns hosting this online festival, which gives it the feel of a “neighborhood block party” feel — another fall staple.
So in celebration of eating and drinking until you’re merely full — rather than stuffing yourself to excess — let’s take a look at the best value blog posts from the past week.
Top 3 Blog Posts
#1: “Lots of people feel they can’t … help others if they don’t have money or time,” says Suba from the blog Wealth Informatics, who presents 15 creative ways to help a charity without spending any money.
Most people throw the word “creative” around, but Suba’s post is the real deal. This is a well-researched piece that’s densely packed with great advice on how to help great causes when you have zero money and minimal time.
#2: SB from the blog One Cent at a Time advises us to Get Into Debt Now, Before Time Runs Out. (In case you couldn’t guess, that title is sarcastic!) It’s easy to read advice about what you SHOULD do. It’s much more jarring to read advice about what you SHOULDN’T do – and to realize, oops, yes, I’m guilty of that.
#3: Squirrelers insists that Asking for a Discount Can be Fun! (Complete with exclamation point!) He shares a story of wrenching a 28 percent discount on a stuffed animal at the mall, before acknowledging that “it’s funny that as a grown man I’m excited about getting a deal on a stuffed animal.” Hey, you said it, not me.
First Comes Love, Then Comes … an Expensive Nursery?
A writer at the TotallyMoney blog, Sian Meades, suggests ways to Save Money on Dates. Her ideas have a distinct British flair – “cake and tea” – although I became a bit confused when Sian said, “Chips right out of the bag will make anyone happy and cost you less than two quid.” Really? Chips on a date? (Aren’t “chips” called “crisps” in England?)
If the date goes well, it can eventually lead to …
Since we’re leaping through lifecycle phases pretty quickly, let’s skip the baby talk and go straight to retirement.
Mike Holman compares retirement annuities to a “gold plated government pension” in his post, If You Could Buy A Gold-Plated Government Pension, Would You?
Saving on Everyday Items
“Many people … think long and hard before making a (large) purchase,” says Melissa, the author of Mom’s Plans. “However, many other people — myself included — carelessly spend their money for little purchases.” Melissa muses about this in a post called What Is Your Price?
“Despite food prices being on the increase,” says Miss T., the author of Prairie Eco Thrifter, “it’s still possible to cut your food shopping costs.” Her post describes How to Save Money at the Supermarket.
Lindy at the blog Minting Nickels posts a super-adorable photo of her mom, taken in the 1960’s. The yellow carpeting, the old television set – it’s amazing how “old” the 1960’s looks. Check out Lindy’s Furniture Cheat — a rundown on how she built wallshelves for a couple bucks — on her latest episode of DIY Friday.
“Once-a-Month Cooking” – the act of cooking and freezing a month’s meals in one day — can help you save both money and time. Glen guides your through A Beginner’s Guide to Once-a-Month Freezer Cooking .
But before you try Glen’s once-a-month cooking method, you’ll need to buy groceries from the store. The blog Free Money Finance talks about how to save on groceries and other everyday items in the aptly-titled post Save Some Money .
If you’re on the “earn more” side of the “earn more vs. save more” debate, Miranda from the blog Financial Highway offers you 4 Creative Business Ideas, including (spoiler alert!) my favorite: create luxury portable toilets, complete with air fresheners and fluffy hand towels.
The Holidays Are Approaching …
“While layaway wasn’t offered in stores for years,” says the writer at Beating Broke, “it is making a comeback due to the current economy.” Yet Beating Broke presents an alternative idea, Create Your Own Layaway Plan.
Speaking of gifts, Amanda suggests possible Holiday Gifts for Travelers. I love idea #2 – a blindfold to help travelers snooze on long flights. I travel everywhere with a cheapo one.
And speaking of traveling, Flexo offers 10 Ways to Avoid Hotel Fees, including my favorite: couchsurf!
Oh yeah, back to the holidays …
“With winter coming up, there will sometimes be lots of extra time that needs to be filled for the kids,” writes Money Beagle, who suggests 6 Things Your Kids Can Do On A Rainy Day if you’re a parent on a budget.
Speaking of Holiday Excess, Here’s More …
Bank fees have been in the headlines lately, now that every bank seems to be nickel-and-diming its customers. Glen Craig presents Free Online Checking Accounts – Why Pay More Fees Than You Have To .
The purpose of money management is to be secure and free. Jon the Saver brings us back to “what’s it all for?” with his post on 6 Tips on Achieving Financial Security Through Frugality.
D.J. offers 8 tips to lower the cost of doing laundry , while — speaking of your washing machine — Kay Lynn discusses the Life Expectancy of Appliances, with advice on how to make your gadgets last longer.