Frugal Friday Wisdom

It seems that every month Frugal Friday includes at least one, and sometimes  two, hot new frugal tips from Wise Bread. Nothing surprising in that, as Wise Bread is a multi-author powerhouse of money insight. They also maintain the official list of top Scary Halloweenpersonal finance blogs. (And modestly rank themselves at only #5.)

If this month’s frugalosphere performance is any indication, they may be soon moving up a few notches. I counted no fewer than four separate frugal tips worthy of passing along here.

Give kids cash for Christmas. Dollar-for-dollar, they will appreciate it more and it is much cheaper to ship and wrap than other gifts.

Make your own infused liquor. Wise Bread provides a recipe: put the thing with the flavor you want to add into your booze, let sit for a few days, and then strain the lumpy stuff out again. I never would have figured that out on my own. Most frugal suggested flavor source: leftover Halloween candy.

Wise Bread told us How to Live in a Big City on a Small-Town Budget. The first tip is to make sure that big city is Chicago, not New York, LA, or San Francisco. I hear Milwaukee is nice too.

And WB had an insightful discussion of the age old controversy: Canned vs. Dried Beans: Which Are Cheaper? Their research shows that although canned may seem cheaper by weight, you are paying for a lot of water that way. On a bean-for-bean basis, dry is a better buy. Sure, you have to soak them overnight, but if you normally buy three cans a week (and who doesn’t?) this could save you $25 a year. “It may not sound like much, but when you consider that it is only one item out of possibly hundreds that you purchase over the course of a year, it all adds up.”

Other blogs paled in comparison. Not Made of Money shared the little known fact that “Appliances that are turned off and still remain plugged in consume 75% of electricity usage.” I guess global warming will be easier to fight than I thought.

No Credit Needed gave us DIY directions to make a rain barrel for very little money. The first item on the list of materials is a 55 gallon barrel, which you get for free from your buddy who works at an auto-repair shop.

If you are toying with the unfrugal idea of leaving money to your kids in your will, don’t do it. As Watson Inc. points out, “Competent children don’t need an inheritance, and incompetent children don’t deserve one.” In other words, if they can make money in their own, then they don’t need yours, and if they can’t, well then who cares about those losers anyway?

Everything is negotiable was the bottom line of a post at The Sun’s Financial Diary Mastering Negotiation to Save Money. The three places where negotiation skills can be useful mentioned in the post are overdraft fees, student loans, and taxes.

Budgets are Sexy reminded us that not spending your money once is not enough. You have to not spend it repeatedly over a sustained period. And to achieve that, you need to hide your money from yourself. The author suggests putting it in a bank that is 30-50 miles away with “really crappy online access.” Just remember not to activate the ATM card or order checks. Several commenters recommended banks that helpfully make it particularly difficult to get your money back.

Free Money Finance had tips on how to graduate college in three years, so you can “get your degree and get on with life.” This post should be emailed to all freshmen. Take it from me kids, grown-up life is way way more fun than boring old college. The sooner you get here the better.

And finally, a true story of frugalism in action. The author of Money Beagle needed a new lawn sprinkler. He found them on-line for only $1.49 for a two-pack, plus $5 shipping. Needless to say, he ordered six. But then, disaster struck. One of the six did not work, leaving him with only five functioning sprinklers, just four more than he needed. The story does have a happy ending, though, as the place he got them agreed to send him a refund check for $0.75.

That may not sound like a lot of money, but in the context of all that you spend, it adds up.

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