Using ThriftyFun

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This is a page about using ThriftyFun. Beginning in 1997 ThriftyFun members have been sharing inexpensive solutions to everyday problems and ideas for crafting, creative recycling, gardening, frugal living, recipes and more.


Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

This is a celebration of ThriftyFun and our ThriftyFun Family. I've been working on it, off and on, for a couple of months and am finally happy enough with it to share. I hope you enjoy!

Ode to ThriftyFun

'T' is for Thrifty which means to be lean
'H' is for Hearts that are pure sweet and clean
'R' is for Receptive, what more could you want
'I' is for Ideal and indeed a very fun jaunt
'T' is for a Trusted place to share and to learn
'Y' is for Yarn, Yard, Yeast, or to Yearn
'F' is for Friendship and Folk who are just
'U' of course stands for every single one of Us

    And last but definitely not at all the least

'N' is for Nesting help from West and from East

Deeli 11/7/10

By Deeli from Richland, WA

Editor's Note: D is for Deeli! ThriftyFun wouldn't be the same without you and your wonderful contributions. Thank you for sharing your poem with the rest of us.

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January 25, 2008

The History of Thrifty Fun

ThriftyFun has seen many changes throughout the years to get where it is today. This page gives a brief history of ThriftyFun and includes screen shots of how the site has evolved over the years.


1997: Coupon Central

It all started when we create the site Coupon Central in late 1997. The goal of this site was to provide a forum where local businesses could advertise by posting coupons that consumers could download. We hoped to promote local businesses and give them an easy way to establish an Internet presence.

Unfortunately, in 1997, the Internet was just starting to break through to the mainstream. We underestimated how difficult it would be to convince local business to try this new advertising medium and ultimately the endeavor was unsuccessful. Coupon Central began its life at and eventually was moved to

ThriftyFun Website 1998

To help promote Coupon Central, we started publishing a weekly newsletter "The Coupon Clipper". The newsletter included thrifty tips and that were sent in by readers. It quickly grew in popularity and became more popular than Coupon Central.


Additional newsletters were added. The "Daily Thrifty Tip" was started in 1998 and provided one money saving tip every day as well as feedback and elaboration of prior tips. Near the end of the year, a "Reader's Request" newsletter was created which concentrated solely on reader's questions and answers.

ThriftyFun Website 1999

1999: Thrifty Fun!

Thrifty Fun itself was created in 1999 as the new home for the popular newsletters. We chose the name to highlight the two most important aspects of the newsletters. Our readers seem to genuinely enjoy being thrifty, saving money, and sharing their wisdom with others!

This new interactive site provided the same content as the newsletters, but made it easier than ever for readers to ask questions and to contribute their own ideas online. This is how the site looked in 1999.


ThriftyFun Website 2000

2001: New Servers

Several complete redesigns later, the new was ready to usher in a new chapter of money saving tips and ideas. The new site was hosted on a faster server and had many new features which made the site easier to use. However, you can see that the site was still largely devoted to storing the archives of our newsletters.

In 2002, we added a complete index. This helped our search engine indexing allowing Thrifty Fun to show up in Google and other major search engines. Now, the collected wisdom of our readers was being shared with a much larger audience.

ThriftyFun Website 2001

2003: Interactivity

In early 2003, all of our newsletters were condensed into a weekly "Thrifty Fun Newsletter". This newsletter rounded up the latest tips and ideas from the Web site and was a great way to stay in touch with what was happening in the Thrifty Fun community.


The site was made more interactive by allowing users with accounts to post feedback which was immediately available to other users of the site. Up until this time, all feedback was sent in by email and posted by us.

In 2003, we stopped development of Coupon Central. The site still exists but is now a link to an affiliated site. Coupon Central did not turn into the tool for promoting local businesses we had imagined, but if it were not for Coupon Central then we would never have started the money saving newsletters that eventually became Thrifty Fun.

ThriftyFun Website 2003

In April 2004, we restarted the Daily Thrifty Tips. It grew quickly and once again provided new tips for thrifty living each weekday. And then in December, we allowed posting of pictures in the feedback. This allowed our feedback to have more information, showing solutions, craft projects or pet pictures.


2005: Redesigns

Our seemingly never-ending redesigns of the site continued in 2005. In addition to tweaking the category navigation again, the new site allowed for submitted tips, recipes, photos, and contest entries to be approved much faster. This new version of the site also allowed for internal messages between registered members.

ThriftyFun Website 2005

2006: My Frugal Life

In 2006, we added a blog site My Frugal Life which allowed our members to post their own blogs about frugal living.

We also worked on a thumbnail system so that entries with photos could be easily identified. This also gave the site a more colorful look.

ThriftyFun Website 2006

2007: Tip of the Day

In February 2007, we started the Tip of the Day. This is sent out daily and our JavaScript feed even allows other webmasters to display it on their own Web site. The Tip of the Day box allows you to scroll back through the older tips. We also added the ability to read the site through RSS newsreaders.

Throughout the year, we did a lot of back-end work on the site. We dramatically improved the speed of many pages and cleared up a number of bottle necks that were causing slowdowns for everyone.

ThriftyFun Website 2007

2008: Into the Future

Thrifty Fun has grown from a labor of love of two people to a thriving family enterprise. Today, the site employs seven people and several columnists who contribute regularly. Everyone works together to help ensure that the site is updated as quickly as possible, but without sacrificing the friendly spirit and can-do attitude that has made Thrifty Fun so popular.

A new database server was installed in January, 2008. The new database server is about four times as fast as the one we were using in just 2007. The site now runs on a cluster of three Apple Macintosh XServes using Apache and MySQL. The site is written using a programming language called Lasso from LassoSoft, a company owned by one of our founders.

ThriftyFun Website 2008

When did you find ThriftyFun?

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November 23, 2006

I wanted to show my appreciation for this website! Thank you so much for a place to go and find out anything we need to make our life easier! I don't visit many sites, I spend a lot of time here, I know when I get bored I can come here and learn a lot from people all over the world! We all appreciate your hard work to keep this site going. Thanks so much!

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Now I find it interesting when someone lists their location along with their name. Especially if theyre in another country. Heck, Im proud, I give my name and location. But heres the thing: So often questions are asked and and someone replies I dont know where you are, but . . . Or I dont know if youre in a large city or small town, but . . . . So many times, answers are predicated on your location. Especially if youre in another country. If youre from Nigeria or Australia, I cant very well tell you to go to your local Walmart, right? How about going in and beefing up your profile a bit - tell us where youre from.

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We have discovered a major glitch in our newsletter subscription service. This is affecting people who have accidentally unsubscribed from our newsletters as well as people who have tried to change their email address for newsletter delivery.

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Get ready to share your creativity this holiday season. We are excited to announce our holiday bonus program for Christmas or holiday craft submissions. We are looking for instructions for making wreaths, ornaments, centerpieces, stockings, and decorations of all types.

Felt Christmas tree ornaments that have been hand crafted.

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June 26, 2006

We are happy to announce a new feature on ThriftyFun for people that track our site using an RSS reader. We now have RSS feeds for every topic. This means you can target which information you would like to read in your RSS reader. For example, if you just want to be informed when new articles are post in Gardening section you can subscribe to the Gardening RSS feed. For a list of available RSS feeds visit:

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Debra Frick
April 16, 2007

We all love ThriftyFun, right? Lots of times I have thought, "WOW, I would never have thought about that", "What a cute idea" or "What a great tip". I vow that this is something I am not going to forget.

How To Use ThriftyFun Effectively

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August 28, 2008

This page will feature a list of updates, changes and fixes to the ThriftyFun websites.

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January 6, 2003

Welcome to our new site! We have worked hard to test the site and make sure that everything is operation. If you encounter any problems, please let us know. You can post them below in the feedback forum or email them to us by using our contact form.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Susan - Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
January 28, 2002

We've been running ThriftyFun and it's origins for nearly 5 years now and are looking for ideas to make ThriftyFun and our newsletters better. What parts (newsletters, website sections) do you like and/or not like?

Because there are more and more sites of this type online, are there any ways in which you find it's existence still important. Please be honest. Because ThriftyFun has been based on reader participation, all of your comments positive or negative are very important to us. Please include how long you have been receiving our newsletters.


January 28, 20020 found this helpful

I have been getting ThriftyFun for almost a year now & like it so much that I have it saved in my Favorites. What I would like to see though is at the bottom of the page instead of 900 pages is some way to go to a page without having to use next all the time. I would like to see all the tips from #1 on but don't want to flip through all 900 pages..

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January 29, 20020 found this helpful

I like the newsletter because it is small and it comes daily. There are
many sites which carry the same type of information. Most are bigger
and have more to offer - but I rarely find time to read them. When
Thrifty Fun comes I know it will only take a minute to read through it.

I also like the way you can get more immediate responses. On a website if someone asks a question it may sit there for months before a response is forthcoming. Here a Brainstorm is proposed and put out there.

Anyone who has something to offer does, it there are few responses you drop it and go on to something else. It stays fresh.
Peggy Hoehne, Contributing Editor

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January 30, 20020 found this helpful

I really have to agree with Joan. There are times when I go to look-up and older tip that I know is around a certain post number and have to sit for some time just clicking next page after next page. Listing a page number/link at the bottom of the pages would be a great idea. Even if you only did one main page that had a link to each page of tips by number, that would be a little less work for you.
- Kathy

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February 1, 20020 found this helpful

I also really enjoy the daily newsletter. It is also nice to know that you can go to the Website to look at past tips.

Maybe the website needs some kind of extensive index.

- Heather - Long Beach, CA

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February 4, 20020 found this helpful

I love the Big Index and the Search Page. This will make it so much easier to look things up on the site. Thanks so much!!!

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February 4, 20020 found this helpful

I like your little newsletter, and have added my 2 cents worth to the topics several times. But I hardly ever post to your site. I don't care much for the procedure you use. When I want to add something to a post, my desire is to do so when I am visiting the site. I don't like
having to go to my mailbox to find the URL that you send me to be able to post and then go back to the site to most times, I just don't bother to add my post...but just leave the site. There must be a faster and simpler way to do this. I don't have to await an email message for the many other message boards, forums, and such that I post to. Well, that is my 2 cents worth.

- Harlean from Arkansas

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September 23, 20040 found this helpful

I have only been using this site for a short time but I love it!!! The tips are so helpful and I have used many of them to save time and money! Keepup the great work !

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How do you get to read the profiles of the people on here? I'm new to this, but I thoroughly enjoy this site and would like to read about the wonderful people that make this so interesting.

Thanks and have a great Monday!

Judith from Montandon, PA

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March 14, 2005

I have a question. When I want to make a comment about something someone has written about, I make sure I am logged in, and still i get the message that I am logged on a guest. What gives?


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January 11, 2006

I am new to this site and just love it! I enjoy reading the profiles of all the people that have set up an account, I just wish more people would tell a little something about themselves. It is really easy to set up an account for those of you that never have, and to write a little something about yourself just click on "Your Account" and type in something interesting about yourself; do you have children, pets, or hobbies? Share with us!

Persnickety Paula from Christmas, MI

Editor's Note: Thanks for mentioning it Paula, I think that's a great idea. You can have a subscription without having an account. To register click on the button on the top of the site. It's easy and spam free.

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I was wondering how long it takes before a question is posted? I submitted a question and it hasn't been posted yet.


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September 19, 2005

I suggest very strongly that folks who submit tips also submit their names. I feel like I get know the people on this site because they do put their names. I like Robin's recipes. There are several Sandy's and we all use a different moniker.

By sandy

Editor's Note: We always encourage personalizing your posts. Many people have the same first name (like me, Susan) so it's good to think of something that helps identify you like "Susan from Washington State" or "Susan-WA." It's nice to know what state or country you are writing from.

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