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Mar 31, 2011

Lower The Temperature of your Freezer and Fridge

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Often with our purchases of a new fridge we tend to not bother with the settings that come with it. Optimizing the settings of your fridge can make a difference in your monthly energy bill, however. Unnecessarily high cold settings will simply waste energy.
  • If you have a degree-numbered thermostat, try and keep the temperature near 35-38 on the fridge. Any more and you run the risk of spoiling food, any less and you'd waste energy. If things are near freezing in the refrigerator, the temperature is far too low. 
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Save Foods by Freezing Them

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Us Americans tend to waste a large amount of food annually. It is estimated that nearly 30 million tons of food is wasted every year and that nearly 40% of all food purchased is wasted. A trick to avoid wasting food is to freeze it for a later date and allow foods to spoil much less quickly.

  • Many breads and rolls can be kept frozen for nearly up to a year and still be good for use.
  • Raw eggs can be frozen for up to six months. 
  • Butter can be frozen for up to 8 months. 
  • Most vegetables can be frozen for a year.
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Mar 29, 2011

Save Money on College Textbooks

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College textbooks are notoriously known for breaking the bank of college students everywhere. There are tips and tricks available to alleviate the pressure of paying and financing them.
  • Buy the book used whenever possible. If the book is available to be purchased used, whether it be in the school bookstore, eBay/Half.com, etc, go for it. It is the best course of action rather than buying a brand new book. 
  • If you're into torrenting, try and and find free versions of the book online on sites like Demonoid and The Pirate Bay, or your favorite private torrent tracker. Library.nu may also have books that may be of good use.
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Mar 27, 2011

Get Your Haircut by Those in Training Rather Than Established Stylists

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Haircuts seem to be ever raising in price. One way to combat the high prices of getting your hair cut is to:
  • Look online for local ads on sites such as Craigslist for stylists who are in training and are willing to cut hair for free or a minimal cost. Many look for real work rather than just mannequins. You can even ask around salons and other places if they have anyone in training that would be willing to work on you. 
  • Community colleges and technical schools that train hair stylists may also have people willing to test their skills on the public for free or a minimal fee. Ask around! 
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Mar 26, 2011

Save Every Penny - Cash In Coins for Money

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Do you have extra coins laying around? Do you often walk by coins laying on ground and blindly pass them by? Pick them up! Coins can add up very quickly!
  • Use Coinstar machines to make it easier to cash in your change. Although Coinstar takes off 9 cents for every dollar you put in the machine. You decide whether this is worth it. I enjoy the convenience of it, but some hate the fact that they are losing 9 cents per dollar.
  • Roll your change and take your money to the bank to exchange
  • If you belong to credit union, take your change to be exchanged there.
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Mar 25, 2011

Invest In A Kill-A-Watt to Determine Energy Usage and Waste

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Many of our household appliances and electronics can be draining and wasting electricity without us even recognizing it. A television that is plugged in and turned off is still draining power because it is in standby awaiting for a remote signal to turn on again. This is one of many example of electronics around the house consuming phantom power. The product "Kill-A-Watt" is designed to measure the electricity usage of devices and appliances. This can help determine whether keeping something plugged in is worth it or not. Kill-A-Watt can be purchased for around $20 on Amazon. This could prove to be a frugal purchase as long as you gain your money back once you find the energy suckers of your household.
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Use Granola to Monitor and Save Energy Costs on Computers

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Granola is a software designed to save money on running and operating a computer whether it be a laptop or desktop. The free version is available for download at grano.la.
 How it works taken from grano.la :
Basically, it's a dimmer switch for your computer's processor. When you're doing your taxes or writing a letter you want bright light to see what's going on and get done as fast as possible. When you've finished working you can relax, pop open a bottle of wine, and dim the lights again because your productivity needs have changed.
That's how this works. Granola uses fancy algorithms to model your power needs and "brighten" or "dim" your CPU automatically. You could actually do this yourself if you wanted to – but Granola can do it hundreds of times per second, and that's where the free lunch comes into play.
Because Granola can respond so quickly, you can have top speed as soon as you need it and drop back to maximum savings as soon as you're done with your task – or even in the few seconds the CPU is waiting on your disk drive or internet connection. In fact, Granola is so fast that you will save energy without ever seeing a drop in performance.
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Mar 21, 2011

Tumbleweed Houses

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Tumbleweed Houses are homes built incredibly small, yet large enough to properly live in.
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Mar 20, 2011

Use Soft Words When Planning A Wedding

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No matter who you go to and who you call, be sure not to mention that the services and items you need are for a wedding. Many stores and service will often increase the price of their commodity by half when they hear that they will be providing to a wedding. Weddings are a very common price gouging situation. Instead, make the effort to stay cryptic and mention that the service or item is for a party or a important event. Pay what you would want to pay for a wedding, not what they want you to pay!
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Turn Computers Off When Not In Use

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Whether it be our laptops, desktops, or any other form of computing experience, leaving them on constantly could have dire consequences on your energy bill. Many people will leave their computers on for no reason while others may leave their computers on to continue seeding their downloaded torrents or for similar reasons.
  • Turning off your computer when not in use can save around $100 per year on your energy bill.
  • Use your computer's energy saving features when at all possible. Make an attempt to buy a computer with rated with Energy Star as well.
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Mar 17, 2011

Lower The Thermostat on Your Water Heater

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Many homeowners are intimidated by the the large equipment sitting in their basement. They believe that it is a professionals job to work with the equipment and that they themselves should stay away. However, garnering some bravery could help save money immediately. Find your water heater, wherever it may be located, and locate the thermostat. My water heater has the thermostat near the bottom of the cylinder in the foreground.
  • Set your thermostat to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Many water heaters are installed and set up to prepare water for 140 degree delivery. This is overly and unnecessarily hot.  Every 10 degrees that the water heater is dropped, expect to see a near 5% decrease in energy bills. 
  • Experiment to find the right temperature. Some people may enjoy their showers on the cooler side and may benefit by putting it even lower.
  • If you've ever been in a jacuzzi/hot-tub, it can be easier to gauge the temperature to set the water heater to. Jacuzzis are often optimally set to 102-107 degrees Fahrenheit. 
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Mar 14, 2011

Save Money by Improving Gas Mileage

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There are many theories out there as to why gas is as high as it is today, however that information is irrelevant as of now. The best action of frugality would be to trade driving for bicycling or other means of non-gasoline powered transportation. However, it is understandable that in many situations it is difficult to trade an automobile for a bicycle. There are tips available for the everyday driver that can drastically help to increase fuel economy on car. This process of maximizing fuel economy has even had its own term coined, hypermiling, and is used by various enthusiasts

Tips include:

  • Drive the speed limit - Why not, it's the law after all right? It's not something we'd like to admit, but the majority of us are guilty of going far over the speed limit in areas. Give yourself more time to get to your destination and drive the speed limit, especially on the highway. It will drastically increase your efficiency. (Graph right: provided by fueleconomy.gov). As the graph shows, optimum speed is anywhere from 45-65MPH. Going over 65MPH forces your automobile to endure more wind resistance and will drastically decrease fuel economy.
  • Having a steady foot - Your foot on the accelerator should be kept at a constant pace. A good way of proving this is to glance at your tachometer. If your RPM's are sway slightly up and down, your foot might be bobbing on and off of the gas pedal. Get to your desired speed and keep your foot as steady as possible. This will allow for increased efficiency.You can use cruise control to your advantage if your car has it for this technique as well.
  • Decrease the amount of time accelerating - Use hills and coasting to your advantage, anything to shave off engine RPM's will help in fuel economy. This also means breaking long before a red light or stop sign and not racing to get to it. 
  •  Get used to traffic and how it moves - this can help you greatly if you are in heavy traffic. The last thing you need if you are looking for improved gas mileage is high traffic. The stop-and-go of the pattern could ruin your efficiency. 
  •  Check Your Tires - Are they properly inflated? Low tire-pressure can drastically decrease fuel economy. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and know the PSI needed for your specific tires. Properly aligned wheels can also aid in better gas efficiency. 
  •  Check Your Engine - Has it been tuned-up for maximum performance? Make sure the spark-plugs are working properly, the air filter is clean, all of the sensors work, the oil is still good, etc. 
  • Cooling - Why not put the windows down rather than using automobiles air conditioning system? Using the air conditioner makes the engine work harder reducing fuel economy.

  • Octane Rating - contrary to some beliefs Octane rating has nothing to do with fuel economy. 
  • Drafting - drafting is where you ride on the tail of another vehicle to gain fuel economy. This is dangerous and should not be attempted. 
  • Hybrid Cars - Recent studies are showing that hybrid cars may not be as efficient as once claimed. Buy accordingly!

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Mar 11, 2011

Make use of Space Heaters in the Cold Season

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Space heaters can save money tremendously, especially when the weather starts to get cold. Rather than heating your entire house, try heating only the main or most commonly used areas of your home that are inhabited, such as a bedroom or living room. Heating an entire house can often waste energy as it goes unused. Space Heaters allow you to turn the main thermostat down and still allow you to keep warm where you need it most. This is increasingly beneficial for those with larger homes as well, as all the unused space of the home isn't being warmed, therefore energy isn't wasted and money is saved. The main idea is to keep yourself warm, and less about keeping your house warm. This idea alone can save you 50% on heating bills depending on personal heat type and usage.


The Space Heater in the picture is a Lasko 754200 1500W Space Heater that can be found for about $20 depending on the store. Use of this or similar items can prove to pay for itself rather quickly while drastically saving on energy costs. Stay frugal!


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Mar 8, 2011

Take Advantage of Cologne and Perfume Samples

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If you're like me, you have a relatively tight budget that doesn't allow for the un-frugal purchases of cologne or perfume. This is unfortunate, as an inviting scent on a person really help one's general appearance to flourish. Everyone likes to smell something good, especially when it's on someone else. A relatively easy way to combat having to buy huge bottles of cologne is to settle for cologne or perfume samples and use them sparingly when you think it would benefit the most. 

As far as I know, Sephora allows you to ask for FREE sample vials of the scent of your choice. JCPenny recently partnered with Sephora making it easier to find Sephora stores these days. They simply choose an empty vial and fill it with the tester perfume's contents. The picture on the right is an example of what Sephora's vials look like. You could try asking around other cologne shops and kiosks in the mall, but it's well known that Sephora does this tactic.


Now I can wear my D&G: The One and Burberry Touch for free!
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Mar 6, 2011

Shower Less - Save More

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To many, this many seem like a crazy idea. Most of us have it hard-wired into our brains that we must shower every day, sometimes even more than that, to stay clean and hygienic.This simply is not true, and our persistence in believing this could be a draining source to all of our money.


Let's take a look at what we're spending when we shower...


Shampoo and Conditioner -  Most shampoos, especially cheaper shampoos, have active ingredients that are very rough and unforgiving on the human hair and scalp. Most shampoos also strip hair of its natural sebum oils which can allow for a naturally luscious shine without having to shell out $50 for a bottle of Wen or Paul Mitchell.  Not using shampoo and/or conditioner every time you showered could benefit in saving a great deal of money over time. I generally shampoo my hair once every 3-4 days depending on my activity level. It is generally known to be not healthy nor frugal to use so much shampoo on the hair.


Water - The average cost of water per 1000 gallons in the United States is near $2 and the average shower set-up uses 2.5 gallons per minute. This can really add up, especially for those who don't like to simply shower in the shower.


Soap - The use of too much soap can often can lead to drier hair and skin. This tends to cause us to go out and buy other products aimed at moisturizing the skin, while our problem may be over-showering.


I urge everyone to at least dedicate a week to trying this out. Many will find that their preconceived notions of not showering everyday will lead to unkempt-ness and unhygienic tendencies are false!
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Mar 4, 2011

Stay Frugal

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Keep checking back in the next few weeks! Information is being compiled and set up as well as ideas to form the blog and to continue serving fresh content. It is all about staying frugal after all. :P
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