First off let me say welcome to frugality! I live off advice of other professionals like Amy D from Tightwad Gazette, and Susan Samtur the Coupon Queen and Rebate Queen of the East. I am the Coupon Queen of Minnesota myself. I really want to be the Coupon Queen of the Northwest Territory.
I have got stiff competition from Whapeton, ND. She sells newspapers and buys 20 herself. I dumpster dive for coupons, and buy coupons of the Internet as well, Coupon shopping sites give bulk coupons, so you don't have to cheat the store by using one coupon for 20 of one item, instead of a 20 coupons for each of those 20 items of the same stuff.
I know people can be honest couponers. I know they are out there, and shop thrift stores that help out nationally or locally with their profits. I shop there. I also shop garage sales, and yard sales, but beware of the yard sale business, whom it is high cost garage sale. Not a saver, but just paying for crap that is high cost store price, and not new.
AnnaKaye, welcome aboard. I'm a fan of The Tightwad Gazette also and got it fairly cheap on Amazon. I didn't go to the library for it because I wanted my own copy to keep referring back to.
There are a lot of ideas here but the best one is Jo if you apply that you won't have to question your actions.
Don't forget the web! Google "thrifty living" or "coupons" and you will find lots of good stuff. A favorite is www.americascheapestfamily.com
Is a great place!
Look for old guides to homemaking at your library/bookstore/thrift store - There was a habit of thrift in the old days & you can learn a lot from them. One of my all-time favorites is HOW TO LIVE ON NOTHING. Also good are guides for starving students.
You can peruse these books at the bookstore while standing there & glean a lot, too....(or having a cup of coffee at Border's or Barnes & Noble!)
Not to mention all the info now on the internet!
I notice most of the replies suggest 'spending money' to get frugal, i.e. buying a book! lol! Just kidding! Like one other reply I think the library is a great resource for frugal/simple living books. Here in Western Australia we can search the West Australia State Library database on the internet to find relevant books. I just print out the page of my selections and take in to my small local library and they order the books for me.
I think you need to examine everything you do in your daily life to see where there is unneccesary waste - other peoples saving tips may not necessarily fit for you. Take a quiet day at home and consciously examine all your actions - write things down and have a think about them. For example your day may go like this........
1. Get up and take a shower - your thoughts on this may be.......
Is the water heater set to high - are you paying for the electricity to maintain your hot water at X degrees, and then having to add cold to it to enable you to get into the shower? Have the thermostat lowered. Do you pay for water by the amount you use? Get a low flow shower head and take shorter showers.
2. Get dressed
Is your wardrobe bulging with clothes - $300 dresses or suits you rarely wear? Do you have favourite clothes you aren't wearing at the moment because they are in a heap, needing repair or stain removal, (doesn't everyone?!)? Make a plan to re examine your wardrobe. Look after your favourite clothes - pre treat stains and make small repairs as soon as you notice they're needed. Give away/send to a consignment shop the clothes that don't fit/you never wear or use the material in them for craft/recycling. Look at the rest and decide what your style is - and stick to mix and match colours. Keep that style in your mind and check out thrift stores for all your new clothes.
3. Have breakfast
Examine your food choices - expensive, pre prepared foods or cheap basic unadulterated foods? As a bonus the basics are also usually healthier with no added sugars, fats, preservatives, etc.
I could go on but you get the idea - examine all your activities. Have you exercised? - lower medical bills if you are fit and healthy. What meal choices did you make? Planned meals with good wholesome ingredients or convenience/fast foods or eating out? What rubbish/garbage do you dispose of? Can you reuse, recycle or repair your things? Look at your utility bills and how you can cut back - there are endless resources on the internet. Track your spending to see where the money is going - knowledge is power.
There is no trick to frugal living - just live consciously, examine your lifestyle, and make te changes with the help of the tips that are appropriate to you. The nice thing about it is....it becomes fun after a while finding more and more ways to save money - and even more fun to redirect that saved money to something you really need, or see your credit card bill or mortgage disappear!
Why not start off with HOW thrifty people find books? I recommend that you find the books on living better for less money at the local library. If specific titles you want are not on the shelves, ask if you can reserve them, or get them via interlibrary loan. Also, begin now to look at the shelves in the second hand stores for books which may help you live economically.
Among my favorite books are the three volumes of the Tightwad Gazette. I now own two, which were given to me as gifts. I also have collected various volumes of household hints from publishers like the following:
Better Homes and Gardens -- Older books from this and other women's magazines are more thrifty, such as those from the fifties.
Rodale Press -- This company has lots of useful how-to guides on lifestyle changes that will save money or help you live longer.
Readers Digest -- Lots of great how-to guides available. Look for topics like gardening, home repairs, etc.
Independent presses -- I've found a great book by a Mormon woman, a series by a Mennonite woman, and a few other obscure volumes by people who live economically because of their religious convictions.
In addition to books, I recommend that you subscribe to several lists or newsletters dedicated to frugal living. The daily or weekly sharing of ideas does a lot to energize and inspire. I've found a great variety of free services: one on financial management that does not assume we are all wealthy investors; one about cooking that tries to balance savings, convenience, and fun; one about making the most of your time with your children; and one with fabulous ideas for a beautiful home and garden; several on general topics. There are also lists and news bulletins on pet care, gardening, homeopathic and herbal medicine, organizing, housework, etc.
Rose B, mother of three, in NC
"The Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczn is a very comprehensive series of books that include ideas used in her newsletter. You can get volume 1, 2 & 3, or the new book that has all 3 combined. Another good book is "The Encyclopedia of Country Living", by Carla Emery. It tells how to do everything from scratch. Good Luck - Marti
I read the Tightwad Gazette at least once a week to stay inspired. I just bought the Cookmiser and that looks good. - The Harwells
Tightwad Gazette is definitely a winner! I am also reading a book now called "Living Well on a Shoestring", put out by Yankee Magazine, and am finding it helpful. --Becki in Indiana
There is a good book called "The Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn. It is a compilation of 6 years of her mailed newsletter.
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