Text 13 May Tupperware works better than plastic wrap

Some sturdy tupperware/rubbermaid/gladware will save you time, money, headaches, and spoiled food.  I almost never use plastic wrap.

Text 12 May I stay away from “dry clean only” clothes

If it is going to cost me like $6 to clean something each time I get it dirty, that’s too expensive.  

Text 11 May I turn old clothes into rags

Especially socks, underwear, and t-shirts.  They work way better than paper towels, and are an easy repurposing of an otherwise discarded asset.

Link 10 May Laundry machine cost calculator»

If you’re like me, and use the laundromat, the costs of doing the laundry are obvious.  But if you have your own machines, click this link to get a fun online calculator that shows how much it costs to do your laundry.

Text 9 May I go to the library

Owning books if overrated.

Text 6 May I spend the same whether cash or credit

I was fortunate to learn at a young age that a credit card was not some magical piece of plastic that let you not actually have to pay.  Originally, a credit card was just a way to let me buy things online—otherwise I mostly used cash.  This experience has made it so that I’ve never even considered not paying the full balance of my card at the end of each month.

Many people get into a trap when they think of a credit card as different than cash.  They think, “Oh, I can pay later.”  But “later” means at the end of the month, so it is critical to have the full amount available in cash in your account whenever making any purchase.  Because if you don’t pay back the credit card immediately when it is due, the card company will hit you with a ridiculous interest rate (often 20% or more).  Check out these calculators.

Text 5 May I empty the cache on the NYT paywall
Link 4 May http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2011/04/24/reader-story-how-i-learned-about-frugality-from-de-cluttering/»

De-cluttering your life as a way to get a handle on what you really need.

Not the most well written article, but there are some great bits.

Text 3 May I keep Clif Bars at my desk at work

When I get hungry, my brain stops functioning properly.  I’m one of those thin eat-often people that everyone loves to hate.  But what it means is that if I don’t eat often, my body sort of “shuts down”.  

At work, this means that I would buy over-priced terrible quality snacks and takeout.  I remedy that by buying cases of Clif Bars for about $1 per bar.  Each bar has about 250 good calories, and they taste between acceptable and good, depending on my mood.

These are my last-resort snacks, but there are all kinds of other dried fruits, nuts, etc that you could use.

Link 2 May Sharpen your disposable razor blades»

(HT to the Art of Manliness blog)

Link 29 Apr http://artofmanliness.com/2011/04/27/money-saving-tips/»

Reader Jeffsays recommended this man-oriented list of tips on saving money with a great DIY-bent.

Text 28 Apr I vacation where I can stay with friends

You may have noticed that I didn’t write new posts this week, and it’s because I was on vacation in sunny LA!  (Everything they say is true:  weather: amazing; driving: terrible.)

Today’s tip is to vacation where you can visit friends and stay with them.  We were able to stay with a friend, and with savings of about $100 per night, it gave us a total of “$700” virtual savings toward having fun and not having to be stingy.

On top of that, friends can help you find great things to do, and can act as a local guide.  I’ve used this strategy to vacation in Japan, South France, SF, LA, and London.  This way, after airfare, going on vacation need not be much more expensive than daily life.

Text 22 Apr I eat my leftovers

Every time that you throw out food, any food, that is wasted money.  I do my best to eat all left overs.

Text 21 Apr I air dry my clothes on a rack

I’ve done this for at least 10 years now.  In the dry winter, clothes dry in about a day, and add some moisture to the apartment.  In summer they can take 2-3 days.  I originally did this for “environmental” reasons, but the cost savings is on the same side of the coin.

Text 20 Apr I hit my credit card rewards, hard

I have a credit card that’s so good, you can’t even get it anymore.  My Schwab Invest First Visa gives me 2% cash back on everything that I buy.  That’s like getting a 2% discount on everything.  The deal was so good, and attracted so many people who like to game the system (like me) that they closed it to new applications.  They are, *for now*, continuing the same rewards.

Responsible use of a credit card can accumulate some nice rewards.  I find cash back to be the easiest, but there are also cards out there for airlines, amtrak, hotels, etc.  Google to find websites that compare all of the best current deals.

American Express, Chase, Discover, and BoA all have cash back cards.  Pretty much every airline has a credit card, and American Airlines and Southwest are two of the most popular.  I’ve also heard that the Amtrak card is good, and points are transferable to Continental Airlines.

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