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Our Frugal Living Experts

Joanne Heim

Joanne Heim

Author of Living Simply: Choosing Less in a World of More

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Gary Foreman

Gary Foreman

Editor and publisher of The Dollar Stretcher Newsletter

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Melissa Tosetti

Melissa Tosetti

Editor and publisher of Budget Savvy magazine

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Live Frugally (But Enjoy Life Fully)

For example, if you realize you’re forking over a ton of cash for dry cleaning when your shirts really just need a good press, reduce your dry-cleaning budget and get acquainted with your ironing board—you could save $30 or more a month. If you go for coffee every morning because you don’t have time to brew your own, set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and save yourself at least $10 a week.

When James did this, he realized he was spending a ton of money at the grocery store, even though much of the food went bad before he could eat it. “When I realized where my money was going, I decided I would only go to the grocery store once a week and just spend a certain amount when I was there,” he says. “That ended up saving a huge amount of money—even when I added in taking my girlfriend out to dinner more often.”

Don’t Cut Every Corner

When people decide they’re going to live frugally, their knee-jerk reaction is to cancel their vacations, stock up on Ramen noodles and live like monks for as long as possible. While this approach may work in the short term, it’s kind of like crash dieting—it doesn’t last.

“I don’t recommend that people make drastic changes in their lifestyles,” says Mary Hunt, a nationally syndicated financial columnist and author of 17 bestselling books on smart spending. “You’ll quickly give up and go on a binge.” Hunt adds that the key is to find ways to do what is important to you for a whole lot less money.

Gina Smith, a journalist based in San Diego, CA, decided that living frugally didn’t mean she had to give up her love of entertaining—she simply needed to harness her inner creative goddess in order to shave hundreds of dollars off the cost of each party. “Instead of hosting traditional parties, I started having potlucks,” she says. “After everyone ate, we’d all play board games instead of going out somewhere. I had forgotten how much fun Cranium and card games can be!”

Posted: 5/16/08

getting coffee at speedway $1.05 vs Starbucks $4.00 and every 5th coffee is free.

  • By mandym
  • on 12/28/09 11:22 PM EST

This article changed my whole thought process on the way i viewed being frugal


great advice


IF you are truly worried about your financial position, start by doing this first.

1: VERY VERY VERY FIRST thing to do. Go throught any piece of paper you have in your house and file all similar pieces together.

2: Sort every piece in EACH pile according to dates

3: Get a Binder and keypole bunch each page and place in Binders.

4: Now that you have everything in order, The pile doesn't look all that dangerous and you are NOW ready to really really thing about what you need, what you most manageable bills are, and Where you owe the most money.

5: Now start paying off the smaller amounts FIRST. The larger ones are too big to tackle first.

6: As those little ones vanish then you can use the money toward you bigger ones and then increase your money to pay off the bigger ones.

Only then are you really in a position to take a breath and know that when you HIT THE BOTTOM, there is only one place. That is UP AND OUT OF THE HOLE we have all dig.


What worked for me was to rate from 1-10 how much satisfaction did spending money on certain things gave me- Anything rating below a 7 I decided to stop spending on that. I also looked at the opportunity cost of doing it myself - for example- if it meant taking precious time away from my daughter and husband- i decided that I would not iron my shirts and would instead by shirts that did not need ironing...it helps to make decisions and not be in automatic


I recently quit the job from hell and while I can now sleep at night, my bills outweigh my income. Learning to live on just my husbands salary til I find a better job has been tough but we've been doing it and using the mindset of frugal, not cheap has definitely helped. I am spending way less on stupid things and by being careful, we are doing okay!


This is a great article...equating frugality with freedom is a powerful thought for me. I want to be able to handle any unexpected expense that might come up without having to ask someone else for help.

  • By kbetta
  • on 7/3/08 3:57 PM EST