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thEver wonder why some frugality tips get recommended over and over? Here’s why: Because they work.

A handful of hacks helped DF and me save four hundred simoleons in just three days.

The biggest-ticket item was our stove, which has been faltering. Since the appliance is at least 30 years old, DF was disinclined to call a technician. Since both of us are disinclined to pay retail, I sent away for $550 in discounted gift cards to a certain home improvement center (which I bought through a cash-back shopping site) and we started watching for sales.

He’d figured that $550 would be enough for the stove he wanted. But then we got lucky.



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Finishing your holiday buying in person? Get ready for warfare on wheels – and not just as regards scoping for prime parking spots.

Combat shopping can be murder on your ride. Whether you leave it in a garage, on the street or in a mall parking lot, you’re at risk of being tagged by a clueless driver and/or having your purchases stolen before you can even get them home to be wrapped.

While some consumers prefer to shop entirely online nearly six in 10 will do at least some brick-and-mortar visits, according to the National Retail Federation. Excited, distracted or stressed-out shoppers may dent your fender or scrape some paint on the way into or out of a parking space.

The honest ones will leave contact information on your windshield. The others just keep driving, which is not only bad manners but could also be a hit and run, legally speaking. Most states don’t define this as taking place on roads or highways, and many include parking-lot incidents in the hit-and-run definition.

One of my recent NerdWallet articles can help.


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thA blogger I know recently hit a run of bum luck, including but not limited to car repairs, house issues, a utility rate hike and medical bills.

Depressing, right? Except that Christina, who writes the Northern Cheapskate website, decided to take a different look at the situation. Specifically, she looked at recent bank statements and her annual credit report.

The sight of paid-off debt and gradually rising balances cheered her and her husband considerably.

“Even though we felt stuck, we were moving – albeit ever so slowly – in the right direction,” she wrote in a post called “The importance of seeing your hard work pay off.”

I strongly recommend running the numbers, for two reasons:

  • To see where you need to make adjustments/get creative, and
  • To discern and celebrate any improvement, no matter how small.

Recently I ran my own numbers – and I liked what I saw.

 


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Frugal re-entry.

thMy trip back from a couple of conferences and family visits took some 17 hours from door to door, thanks to the first plane leaving almost two hours late. Boy, was I ready to be home.

And boy, was I glad that we live only about six minutes from the airport. A guy with whom I chatted during the delay told me he still had to drive to Ninilchik, Alaska, after we landed. That’s more than 180 miles south of Anchorage. All I had to do was look for DF’s car outside the baggage claim area.

Thursday found me somewhat punchy, since long trip + fewer than five hours of sleep = dormant brain cells. But I made it a point to get back on track, money-wise. 

 


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thToday is National Thrift Store Day, which I’d forgotten. Strictly by coincidence I wound up discussing secondhand shops with my younger great-nephew, who is far more stylish than I.

B waxed rhapsodic while describing the leopard-print winter jacket he recently got at Value Village. Just $8 to be both warm and cool at the same time.

He also recently bought some really high-topped Converse sneakers (think “mid-calf”) there, along with a T-shirt emblazoned with cartoon sushi and a simple summer frock.

(B is a gender non-conforming kid who’s been wearing “girl” clothes full-time for several years, although his older brother explained to me that there’s no such thing as girl clothes or boy clothes.)

He loves the variety as well as the price. Where else is an 8-year-old in Anchorage, Alaska, likely to find affordably priced black Dr Martens boots of shiny patent leather black with pink stitching and laces?

 


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