Frugal Friday 2/6

It’s Friday again, so here’s the weekly roundup of frugal hints from around the blogosphere. Just to make it clear, these are selected with the intent of finding ideas you haven’t seen before. Lots of sites tell you not to go grocery shopping hungry. It is the useful blog that gives tips on making a meal of free samples in the store.

We start with a cautionary tale. As all citizens of Frugal Nation know, Denny’s gave away free Grand Slam breakfasts this past Tuesday. And as some may have noticed, they failed to specify one to a customer. A reporter with the Chicago Tribune attempted the obvious act of frugality, consuming 5 Grand Slams before 9AM. The results were not as joyful as you might have expected.

I don’t know if that feast of free cholesterol inspired self-reflection, but there were quite a few posts this week wondering if this frugality thing might not be bad for society. For example, Almost Frugal, which as you may know is written by an American living in the French Alps, had a post entitled The Ethics of Frugality which mused that buying the cheapest item available might be sending American jobs to China.

As this is the first week of February, lists of money saving hints for Valentine’s Day were everywhere. They mostly just repeat the same old stuff about handmade cards and single roses instead of a dozen. But Sound Money Matters had a list that cut to the quick by starting with the suggestion that you just skip the holiday entirely. Failing that, push it back a week when restaurants are much less crowded and gifts have been seriously marked down. And has an original list of Valentine’s Day Tips for Gals. Obviously, what most guys want from their gals costs no money at all, but the post does come up with a few alternatives, including allowing your man to teach you how to change the oil on your car.

If you are a frugal user of candles, presumably because you want to save money on both lighting and heating, you will appreciate Little People Wealth’s tip: store your candles in the freezer. They will burn more slowly.

Speaking of heating, Zen Personal Finance had a series of three posts with a total of 13 ways to save money on your heating bills. The first twelve are pretty obvious, but the last one in the last post suggests saving money on heating by not eating out, because your stove will create heat when you cook. Further, the blog points out that “If your thermostat is near the kitchen, you will save money.” How true. Sadly, my thermostat is not near my kitchen. But I have remedied this by putting an electric space heater right under it.

The best frugal post of the week comes from Gather Little by Little, which provides a list of 25 uses for dryer sheets, none of which involves a clothes dryer. This, of course, is particularly important for the truly frugal, who save money by hanging laundry on a line to dry. Inevitably, this results in a growing stock of unused dryer sheets, which can really clutter up a storage closet. These 25 uses will have you putting a dent in that backlog in no time. For example, did you know that to reduce odor you can “Scrub incoming dogs or cats (especially wet ones) with a dryer sheet before they come back into your home.” All wet cats love being rubbed down with scented foam sheets.

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