Frugal Living Advice

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The myth is that saving money means you'll do more work. This is often not true. In fact you can save time and money by simplifying your life.

#1. Comparison shop over the phone.
You can save wear and tear on you and your car, by calling a number of stores. You can compare the cost of appliances, prescription drugs, eye glasses, you name it. Don't be shy: let your fingers do the walking.

#2. Avoid coupons.
Sometimes coupons are a good deal. Often they are not. We recommend buying store brands over coupons because the savings are as good or greater, and you save hours of coupon clipping, sorting, organizing and discarding.

#3. Stock up at the best price.
Once you have created your own system for organizing a two or three month supply of products you use everyday, you will save a ton of money and a lot of trips to the store. And you will avoid those frantic last minute trips to expensive convenience stores when you realize you're out of laundry soap (for example).

#4. Order all your magazines from a true discount magazine wholesaler.
You can save as much as 70%. You will get one bill for several magazines and you can ignore all those notices that the magazine subscription department sends you.

#5. Return clothes and other items you don't like for a refund.
It should take only a few minutes to return a dress or pair of trousers that you didn't like and get your money back. You'll be saving time in the long run, because you won't find yourself trying to sort through clothes in your closest that you never wear.

#6. Instead of buying new clothes, learn to use the ones you already own.
Many people have more than enough clothes in their closets and bureaus. Save time shopping by learning to mix and match your existing wardrobe in new ways.

#7. Learn to plan meals with leftovers in mind.
Some experts estimate that we waste 25% of the food we prepare.
If you can learn to use leftovers, you save all that time shopping, preparing, and cooking. And you would save a lot on your grocery bill as well.

#8. Raise the deductible on your homeowners policy.
We recommend you raise the deductible on your homeowners policy to the maximum your policy will allow. Have the money that you saved automatically deposited into a special savings account. Use the money in that account for any repairs to your home that the insurance would have covered with a lower deductible. In the long run you should save a considerable amount of money. But it will also save you time. Instead of having to file a bunch of small claims with the insurance company and get a number of estimates, you can do the work yourself or hire anyone you choose and get the work done quickly. So you avoid all the insurance paper work and delays. But you also avoid the possibility of having your policy canceled. Many companies will cancel your policy if you make a number of small claims. Then you would need to spend hours finding a new insurer.

#9. Be a smart Christmas shopper.
You know most of the people who will be on your gift list, so keep an eye out for gifts all year long as you do your regular shopping. In April when you come across a great store sale or garage sale do some Christmas buying as well. By November you will have purchased most of your gifts at half price or less. All those people who waited will pay full price and be spending days frantically shopping.

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#10. Avoid rebate and "discount points" programs.
Airlines, hotels, restaurants, book clubs, CD clubs may have a discount rebate programs which look like great bargains. However, when you figure the actual discount you are getting for airline points, for example, it is often only about 2%. You can do much better simply by comparison shopping. In addition you will save time by avoiding the paper work involved. Keep in mind that many such "point" programs are canceled or changed so that you then have to scramble to redeem your remaining points, if possible, before the end of the program. tm NEWSLETTER
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