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Jun 13, 2012

Wash Your Clothes Less and Save Money

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These days we've become such a culture of over-cleanliness. Yes over-cleanliness. There is a point to where being clean is just obsessive and actually bad for you. We NEED certain bacteria to function in high health. Our need for constant clean is killing the good bacteria. Not only are we losing these beneficial strains of bacteria but we are also creating new strains of superbug bacteria with our incessant overuse of antibacterial cleaners and antibacterial drugs. Let's take a step back and chill out.

Your clothes do not need to be washed after a singular day of wearing. This is of course unless you have massive new stains or sweat a lot in them. The average person does not dirty their clothes enough to warrant washing them after each wear. They simply aren't dirty enough. Let's look at the positives hear. 

What are the positive effects of not washing your clothes after each wear?

- More money saved in not wasting:
  • the many gallons of water to fill the washing machine

  • the electricity in having to USE the washing machine and dryer (only use dryer if it's not possible to dry outside anyway!)

  • the detergents and other harsh unnecessary cleaners typically used.

- Better quality of your clothes

  • Colorful shirts will tend to fade after many wash cycles. Do it less often.

  • Jeans, especially, start to fade after many washes.




How often should I wash my clothes then?

  • Underwear and socks are up to you. I still would wear them more than once without washing.

  • I wear my shirts around 3 times before washing, but you could choose more or less. They never really get that dirty.

  • Jeans and pants could be worn for weeks without washing. In fact, it's preferred to let jeans be worn for a few weeks in between washes. It saves the integrity of the fabrics and thus saves you from having to purchase new clothing as well. 
Use your best discretion and try it out for yourself. We've ingrained these 'clean ideas' into our culture when things weren't even dirty. I can assure you that washing your clothes less often is not a dirty thing to do nor are your clothes that dirty after wearing them once. Let's put some common sense into how we're using our resources. Then maybe we can truly realize where our paycheck is headed to each month. 
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Nov 29, 2011

This isn't Frugal, It's Just Crazy

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I've heard many people who share this exact sentiment. They believe that frugality is simply being cheap, and that there is no real benefit to doing the tips and tricks withing the frugal realm just to save a dime. Unfortunately for them, frugality and being cheap are two different things. Being frugal means to buy things with quality in mind, while still getting the best price possible. If you didn't, then you would simply be cheap. Being cheap may work in the long run, but lower quality items will breakdown, degrade, and lose it's functionality quicker than a higher quality, yet frugal buy.

When people see these tips they think "What? Save a measly dollar here or there? How is this at all worth it?", and continue to dismiss the frugal mindset. They are woefully missing the point, however.Frugality is a life-style and mindset. Not only that, but it is also a very cumulative and ongoing thing. Sure, if you use one tip and it saves you 5 dollars a year, that's not a whole lot. It's easy to be dismissive and ignore other tips after this. This is where most people who do not adopt a frugal mindset stand. "Really making your own soap? You guys are crazy." We hear it all. Adding these tips together in a cumulative and continuous way, however, can mean a much greater savings. Put 10 tips together, maybe you can 200 dollars a year. Put 10 frugal tips together and maybe you can save $500 or $1000. It's all in how much dedication you are willing to put into this. It will save you money. You will be happier.


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Jul 20, 2011

Dude, You Use Too Much Product.

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Really now. You use way too much product when going about your daily lives and providing luscious positive hygiene techniques to yourself. However, since we are lazy and like to picture rather than read, the quaint descriptions of amount usage on packaging is often ignored contributing to an vast overuse of products such as and ESPECIALLY toothpaste and shampoo or conditioner. You probably use too much toothpaste and shampoo. I've added some very special visual elements to assist in the proper usage amounts of products. Wouldn't you like your toothpaste and shampoo to last longer?

TOOTHPASTE



Nobody needs as much toothpaste as the bottom picture, even if you have the largest recorded mouth in the world. As you begin to brush your teeth, that small but proper dab of toothpaste will turn into something magical. Believe me, this is PLENTY of toothpaste to clean each and every tooth with. Maybe even TWICE! The only thing the bottom picture will give you is a mouthful of sudsy mouth paste and a severely waning bottle of toothpaste. Now you might say, well you had to waste that toothpaste for the picture! That's not frugal! ...and I'd reply and welcome your criticism. However this is for something else. This is for science. Science is always right. Right?





SHAMPOO / CONDITIONER




Before the jokes come in about spray cheese or simple handly pleasures, allow me to make a statement. You probably use way too much shampoo. Let's try and use less shampoo next shower, can we? We want to gently wash our hair after a hard day of looking good, not cover it in laboratory goo and strip our hair of its natural wonder. Hair was not really made to be shampooed in the first place. It strips our hair of natural oils and can sometimes even damage the hair. I'm not saying shampoo is all bad though. It certainly can do the hair good with proper amounts. The top picture is a good estimate at how much shampoo and conditioner you should be using during your shower. The only shower that warrants a little extra shampoo is the god-like golden shower. Yet, this should still not amount to the glob seen in the bottom picture. Want to save even more shampoo? Stop shampooing every time you shower. Do it every other day, or every two days, etc. Your hair will visibly thank you.
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Jul 14, 2011

How to Avoid Heating Up Your House In The Summer...

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(and how the opposite can help in the winter.)

It is now the middle of the summer season for those in the United States who see the season. Temperatures ranging from the 80s, 90s, and 100s. A welcome season for many who grow weak and weary of the bitter cold winter months that seem to last an eternity. Now that summer is in fact here, you'll hear the population convert their complaints of the bitter cold over to complaints of the scorching heat. It seems nobody is content in an area where the climate can drastically change with the seasons such as us here in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

Under the coercion of the temperate rays of the sun, many seek out methods of cooling down during the summer while at home. Honestly, it is much easier to combat the cold of the winter. You can simply wear heavier clothing around the house and use extra blankets to keep warm without breaking your budget via the energy bill. Summer is a profoundly more stubborn. What happens when you remove all your blankets and your clothing yet remain in a puddle of sweat? When it's 85 degrees outside and 83 degrees in your house it can sometimes feel like an eternal suffocating hell.

Many seek out help with an installed HVAC unit in their homes to allow for central air conditioning. This one unit will send cooled air throughout the house wherever there may be a duct installed. Many houses are not equipped with this technology, therefore others will utilize overhead fans and/or in-window air conditioning units to stay cool. Fortunately for your physical comfort, you will feel great. Unfortunately, air-conditioning or other cooling methods will more than likely be your biggest utility expense during the summer. Considering this, it is important to really understand your house and why and how its indoor temperature is what it is.

You may be forcing your air-conditioner to do more work for you. You won't notice this until you get the bill at the end of the month. There are many things that homeowners do or own that contribute to unwanted heat in the house during the summer. Eliminating these heat leeches can not only lead to a NATURALLY more cool house, but allow for less strain and work on the air conditioner. Think of it as a job being payed based on performance. The less you work, the less you get paid. It is very similar for air conditioners. The less THEY work, the less YOU have to pay.

There are plenty of ways to reduce the amount of heat in your home during the summer that will prevent overworking your cooling units.







  •  The first thing you should check when it comes to anything. Is to check your insulation. Seriously. If you do not have proper insulation, it is just going to be that harder to control your houses temperature. You don't want heat leaking in, and you surely don't want cool leaking out. Also make sure there are no cracks or leaks in your HVAC system as well.

  • If you run your air conditioner make sure that all outside seals are closed. Any cracks in windows or doors are going to grab the cool air and take it with it outside.

  • Unplug your wireless router and modem when away from the house or not in use. Both my router and modem are generally warm to the touch which means some of that heat is getting dispersed into the air. If you're a torrent seeder among other things, this may make this decision harder for you.

  • Unplug your cable boxes, set-top boxes, TIVOs, and TVs. My cable box gets very warm when it is plugged in. This could attribute to room heat. Unplugging your cable box is also beneficial considering the cost to keep it on. Some cable boxes can cost up to $10 a MONTH just to keep plugged in. It doesn't matter if you're using it or not. If it's plugged in, it's giving off heat and wasting electricity.

  • If you have windows in your bathroom, open them while you shower. The hot and humid air from the shower can go outside where it belongs. Make sure you shower with the door to the bathroom closed as well. As you leave the bathroom, close the door behind you and let the hot air dissipate slowly from the bathroom, as opposed to leaving the door open and allowing all that hot air to enter the rest of your house's temperature zone.

  • If your kitchen range has a vent, turn it on while cooking. Allow for the heat of cooking to exit the house, rather than dissipate throughout the house and heating it up. Additionally, try and keep all pots and pans covered to inhibit the heat escape.

  • Eliminate or reduce radiational heating by closing the blinds of windows during the day. Leaving the windows uncovered will attribute to heat gain in the house from the radational heating caused by the suns rays. Some may say "Oh, how depressing. A beautifully sunny day, and you want me to clothes my blinds so I can't see it?". Well, yes. Your house is for living. Why not go outside and enjoy the weather rather than dimly enjoying it inside the house.

  • Turn off your computers when not in use. Your laptops, your desktops, your netbooks, etc. My laptop has a normal running temperature of around 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat gets filtered away from the computer's integral parts and out of the vents on the body of the computer. If you leave your computer on while your AC is on, you will essentially have a heater (your computer) fighting your air conditioning unit. Why not buy a dehumidifier and a humidifier at that point and have them battle each other too? Steven Wright may have been on to something. (/sarcasm)

  • Inhabit the lowest portion of your home. It is true. Heat rises. The most upstairs portion of your home is generally the hottest. The basement is generally the coolest area. Not only is it the lowest portion, but many basements are partially or fully underground. There is less light to penetrate and less heat underground.

  • Reduce the amount of people in your home. Us humans are small heaters. Our homeostatic body temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Get enough people in a room and the temperature will surely rise. Nearly all of us have experienced this as well. A store or a small space with a lot of people is bound to become hot stuffy and sweaty.  Consider having that summer party outdoors, rather than indoors.

  • If you have an indoor ceiling fan, use it. It will rid of the hot air being stagnant as well as moving and circulating the colder air from an AC unit.

  • When it comes to the air conditioning unit itself, makes sure the filter is clean and in good shape. Also try and position the unit so that it does not get direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause an AC to lose its efficiency.

  • Do not set your thermostat low in hopes that it will cool your house quicker. This only puts extra strain on the air conditioner.

  • If you're still using incandescent light bulbs, which you shouldn't be, your house may be warmed up by lights being left on. That's not to say that other bulbs can do the same, but incandescent bulbs are essentially mini-heaters that emit light.
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Jul 13, 2011

Stop Buying Things You Can't Afford

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This should be the first 'to-do' on everyone's list, and the most obvious task at that. Stop buying things. Seriously, put down your wallet. Put down your cash. Put down your debit card. Put down your credit card. Hide it away in your wallet for now. It is time to think. Time to save. Time to gain self control and STOP stop stop buying things. It's hard, I understand. For some, this may be a foreign concept, but if you'd like to begin saving your money and saving your time, it is absolutely necessary.

Imagine what you can do with having extra money. Obviously, first priority of money should be for paying off the essentials in life such as food and shelter. Once that is accomplished, you can use the extra money saved to benefit your own self with increased happiness. Who knows! Maybe you might finally be able to fund that eccentric hobby of smashing pumpkins or eating teaspoons of fish oil on different shores of the world. Anything is possible.

Foregoing any more silly antics, allow me to adjust my tone back to playfully helpful with added seriousness. Stop buying things. I will allow you to buy a small chalkboard and a piece of chalk only to write the message "Stop Buying Things" on it. From then on, keep your promise to the blackboard.

The reason that many of us find that we lack sufficient funds to pay for things really ACTUALLY have to pay for is because we keep buying things that serve no real purpose and add very little value or use to our lives. Another thing is that we should only buy things with money that we have. That means get rid of those credit cards if you don't have the immediate funds to pay them off. If you have $1000 to your name and want to buy a TV for $1400  then DON'T do it. Putting it on a credit card will only put you in debt. Credit cards are not free money. When you don't pay the credit card bill in full for the TV that you couldn't afford but just HAD to have, your TV's price begins to accrue interest. That $1400 television set then turns on you like your best friend and ends up costing $2000+ after the final payment.

Make a list. Track your purchases. Don't let them just fade into a costly abyss. Add up your expenses and realize how much money you are wasting every day, every week, every month, every year. This is entire post is based off the very old idea of "Needs vs. Wants". You need to eat. You want a motorcycle. You need to pay the electricity bill. You want to build a deck. If you are compelled to buy material items because you think it will allow you to gain friends easier, you are going about being social incorrectly. People should like you for who you are, not the material items you own. If it is still a difficult concept to grasp, consider this:

  • You don't need to buy those cute little trinkets for around the house. They look tacky, add to house clutter, and waste money. Don't tell me you HAD to get those window stickers or talking picture frame.

  • You don't need an HDTV. Sure it's nice, but is it that extra resolution worth the cost?

  • You don't need an iPhone and you don't need a Macbook Pro. If you get a contract, you can get free Android smartphones from any carrier. Macbook Pros are unnecessarily expensive. Buy a windows or Linux alternative laptop or netbook instead.

  • You don't need to have thousands of pieces of clothing. Pick your favorite, keep it, and wear it. You are not your clothing. It does not control you. You are you. Wear a few outfits that look nice and be happy with what you have. There is no excuse for spending hundreds of dollars on clothing every time you go out to shop.

  • You don't need to buy a brand new expensive car. There are fine cars both performance and aesthetic that can be bought cheaper especially if used. Do you really need to own a Mustang?

  • The same goes for housing. Don't accept what you can't pay. If you know you rent might be hard to pay, then you can't afford it. The same goes with a mortgage. If your mortgage payment seems too high and difficult to pay, it's going to be. Live in a smaller more efficient house for cheaper. 

Bottom line? You do not need to spend money and gain material items to be happy in life. Your needs should always out weigh your wants. If you feel as if you can afford something, then by all means, give yourself a treat. But if you physically don't have the money to afford something at that exact time, DO NOT BUY IT.  
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Jul 11, 2011

Ditch Cable and Movies for Cheaper Alternatives

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Unless you're stealing cable from a neighbor, you're more than likely paying outrageous amounts of money to watch television. If you live life on the edge, maybe you should steal cable. It will provide you with dual outlets of free entertainment. Stealing and viewing television. Actually, I'm not advocating this at all. Fortunately, there are better methods for obtaining, not free, but cheaper means of home entertainment.

Go back and look at your cable bill for the month. Now multiply that by 12 and you'll have the amount of money you pay per year on cable/satellite television. Now think about the content itself. Laden with advertisements every 8 minutes or so, waning quality programming, sometimes inconvenient times to watch programs, etc. It's really the case of having 500 channels but nothing to watch. There are plenty of reasons to look upon cable and satellite television and be less than impressed. Is this really how you want to be spending your earned money?

Cable companies know they aren't as popular with the public as they once were. Comcast, for example has a low reputation in the eyes of the public and was even rated one of America's worst companies. To boost customer support of the company Comcast has started re-branding their television and internet division as 'Xfinity'. Xfinity is still Comcast.

Instead of wasting your time and money with cable and satellite television ditch these money suckers for cheaper alternatives.

  1. Netflix - Netflix's describes themselves as a company that offers to...
    Watch TV Shows & Movies Online or Streaming to your TV via Wii, Xbox, PS3 & many other devices. For Only $7.99 a month.
    The many other devices also includes your computer, iPod, iPhone, etc., as long as you have an internet connection. Netflix is constantly adding content to their Instant Queue which means you can simply browse and watch without having to wait for a disk to arrive in the mail. If a show or movie is not available on instant queue you can simply send for it to be delivered to your house. Many of your favorite TV shows and movies are in Netflix's database and for 96 dollars a year, it's certainly worth it.  Netflix gains access to new content every week and is constantly expanding its library. As of now Netflix has over 100,000 titles in its library including Futurama, Arrested Development, Lost, etc.


  2. Hulu is an online video service provided free streaming videos of popular and classic television shows as well as documentaries and some full length movies. The huge difference between Hulu and Netflix is that Hulu allows you to watch very recently aired television episodes. Many use Hulu to stay up on Family Guy, 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Wilfred, The Office, South Park, Parks and Recreation, and much more. Much of the content comes from frontrunner stations such as NBC, Fox, and ABC but include many other station's and network's content as well. Some shows are even available in a 720p HD stream.  It's great for those who want to watch TV but don't want to pay for the cable subscription.


  3. Network TV stations will often upload streaming videos of their licensed content to watch. For those who missed an episode or those without TVs, both major networks ABC, NBC, and FOX offer streaming episodes of certain shows under their programming. Other Networks such as Adult Swim and Comedy Central  offer streaming episodes of many shows under their programming.


  4. If you are more tech savvy or are looking to become such a person, torrenting is always an option if you are willing. You can simply torrent new and old episodes of your favorite TV shows as well as download movies from 1930 to movies currently in theaters. This is a more morally ambiguous way of going about getting entertainment, however I am simply letting you know of the options. It is best to find private torrent trackers where quality and sharing is rewarded. Public trackers such as the Pirate Bay are still available for use.








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Jul 10, 2011

Stop Eating to Save Money

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This is quite possibly the greatest and best kept secret in staying frugal and saving money. Not eating. Just stop eating. You don't need to eat. We can survive by taking in energy from the sun and water from the rains! Imagine the money you can save by not eating!

Hopefully by now you don't have to read this line to realize that I am simply procuring a playful jest. Of course we have to eat. Our body would begin to eat away our fat and muscle supply if we didn't. The thing is, people seem to not know how to eat very well these days. Go in any supermarket and look at the items that are advertised and especially advertised on sale. These items are laden with processed food materials, fats, high fructose corn syrup, etc. None of these food items are conducive to a healthy body and mind. Coinciding with this is the health of your wallet and bank account.

Consumers buying processed foods and such will find that it yields little to no benefits besides perhaps quickness and convenience. That boxed Kraft macaroni and cheese takes a lot less time to make than real mac and cheese, right? Who has time to cook anymore? Make time to cook. You'll be happier you did.

In fact, buying such processed and unhealthy foods is one of the most least frugal things you can do. Focus your buying less on processed foods and more on more nutritious and frugally beneficial foods. This is how you can improve:

  1. Keep away from sodas and other sugary or high fructose corn syrup drinks. "Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity." This not only leads to health problems which can cost you dearly but it is a waste of money. Sodas and other drinks with high sugar content and HFCS cost extra as well. You are paying a premium to buy inferior merchandise. Try drinking water, fresh tea, or other healthier drink options.

     
  2. Keep away from White Bread and other unnatural grains. White bread is probably the least healthy variant of bread out there. It is also the least nutritious. Try whole wheat if at all possible, or even ryes. Brown rice is healthier than eating white rice.

     
  3. Eat more vegetables and less junk. Use them in your daily meals from breakfast to dinner. Many of your needed nutrients will come from vegetables so do not leave these out of your diet. The same goes for many varieties of fruit as well.

     
  4. These tips go especially well for those who use EBT or food stamps. If you have this, it is a good idea to buy items that will benefit you nutritionally. I've seen people buying the most refined and processed foods a store can sell, along with sodas, sugary soft drinks, ice cream, pastries, etc. Sure these are good, but when you are given a limited amount of money to eat, you should really consider eating more nutritiously.



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