th 1 How much underwear do you have?While chatting with a relative recently about small vs. large savings, I mentioned that I wasn’t interested in making my own laundry soap. The money saved would amount to about 8 cents per load, and DF and I generally do no more than six loads of laundry per month (and usually fewer).

The relative was shocked: “We do two or three loads a week for just the three of us.”

Then again, one of those three is a very active 8-year-old – in other words, lots of dirty clothes. That also means an extra set of sheets each week. And for all I know, that family uses a bath towel only once.

That’s how I grew up; my mom didn’t think it was sanitary to reuse a towel. Boy, did I get over that idea when I moved out on my own.

But that got me to thinking: Are we really grimy people for not caring whether the towel gets used, reused and re-reused?


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th1 A simple price comparison can save you thousands.When it comes to saving money, pick the lowest-hanging fruit first. A new survey from Insurance.com compared the per-minute value of tactics such as changing cellphone carriers, carefully pricing new vehicles and seeking a better car insurance rate.

Shopping for insurance won quite handily, with a value of $54 per minute.

A cynic would call that pretty convenient, since Insurance.com has an auto-insurance rate comparison tool. But the fact is that consumers often benefit by using a tool like this.

In part that’s because a change in circumstances – reaching the age of 25, getting married, moving, taking a job with a shorter commute, even improving your credit score – can mean better rates. But it’s also because even reasonably intelligent people wind up overpaying from the get-go and fail to do anything about it.

I know this because I overpaid for car insurance myself. Way overpaid. For way too long.


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th 1 One way to celebrate National Splurge Day.Yet another holiday invented to make you spend money! Just what we need, right? But I’m sorta-kinda okay with National Splurge Day, as long as the splurges are done frugally.

In fact, I think you should splurge on something today – but that you should do so in as cost-effective a way as possible, and with an eye toward postponing future splurges.

Does that mean you can never have nice things? Not at all. In fact, what it means is that you can likely get those nice things faster – but only if you’re willing to grow up, wise up and stop ignoring future goals in favor of fun-right-now stuff.


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th5 Should you subscribe to a toilet paper service?Is arranging for regular delivery of items you use often – pet supplies, diapers, medical supplies and, yes, TP – a frugal hack?

Usually. Merchants like Amazon, Wag.com, Target and Drugstore.com will cut you a break on the prices and let you set the terms/quantities.

Although a super-couponer can often beat the subscription prices, not everyone’s willing to do that consistently (even with help from a site like CouponMom.com or a grocery app like Favado).

So it’s better to get a pretty good price all the time then a swell deal every so often.

For more on this, see my latest post on Money Talks News. “Does it pay to have diapers, toilet paper, dog food delivered to the door?” explains the ins and outs (and a few other advantages) of subscription services.

Although I’d taken a bit of a break from Money Talks News recently to work on a personal project, I’m now back in the saddle. Here’s what else has run lately:


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What’s going on.

th8 Whats going on. Summer is in full swing in Anchorage, by which I mean the garden is planted and the clouds came back.

A little rain, even, although not nearly enough. After weeks of relentless sun I have to admit that it was good to see “normal” weather again.

Some people refer to clouds and rain as “state fair weather.” I don’t agree. State fair weather requires low-40s temperatures plus enough wind to blow the rain sideways. What good are carnival rides and barbecued turkey legs when it’s actually nice out?

But as with every summer, I’m losing track of time in a huge way. Look at the clock and it’s 6 p.m. The next thing you know it’s 10:30 – who let that happen?

Losing track of blogging, too, i.e., I haven’t written much lately. Let’s play catch-up.


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