Discover helpful tips from some of our favorite frugal bloggers.
Pinching every penny is tough work! Sometimes you need a little professional help, which is why we have these blogs bookmarked in our browsers. When stretching your budget has you stuck, check out the creative advice from these great frugal living blogs.
"I have designated a spot in our home for garage-sale boxes. As I find things we no longer need or use, I start filling up
a box. This method makes preparing for a sale simple, because I already have a huge start on collecting stuff."
- Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMoms.com
"When you look at a coupon, you should disregard the photo you see printed. Many manufacturers will run a shot of the most
expensive item in the product line in hopes that you will spend the most money."
- Tracie Fobes of PennyPinchinmom.com
"To save a lot with coupons, I always get at least six inserts from the same newspaper each week. Avoid paying for multiple
papers by asking to have a few extras delivered along with your subscription, or get unused inserts from local businesses."
- Ruth Soukup of LivingWellSpendingLess.com
"List all the people you usually buy presents for (include birthdays and holidays) in a year. Add up the dollar amounts and
divide by 12 to figure out how much you need to set aside each month to budget for your gift goals. If it’s too much, you
should scale back your list."
- Jonni McCoy of MiserlyMoms.com
"I find it hard to keep track of cold-weather gear, so I installed a shoe organizer on the inside of our hall-closet door
for hats, gloves and scarves."
- Kelly Snyder of KansasCityMamas.com
"I pay most bills online or make one large payment for a series of invoices. This means we have quite a few leftover envelopes
in our professional and personal stash. Instead of tossing them, I use them for sending notes to teachers and employees and
mailing out other bills."
- Briana Carter of BargainBriana.com
"Take baby steps to reduce your budget. For example, set a goal to save $5 this week at the grocery store pairing coupons
with sales. Then increase the amount as you get the hang of it."
- Marcy Robison of StretchingaBuck.com
"Start thinking that bigger is not always better. Purchasing smaller sizes (not trials) often saves money. Remember to buy
when items are on sale rather than when you need them."
- LaTasha Sams of TheDealFanatic.com
"When looking for something in particular, you’ll save time scouring piles of junk by asking the seller up front if she has
it. This also gives her the chance to bring out an item that isn’t on the tables."
- Linsey Knerl of WiseBread.com
"Each year we request a visitor’s guide to our own and neighboring states so we can learn about new spots and explore just
as a tourist would. Plus, the books often come with coupons for area restaurants and hotels."
- Amy Allen Clark of MomAdvice.com
"Start big! Tackle the larger areas of the room first—paint the walls, dress the windows and clean the floors. This will make
the biggest impact at the smallest cost."
- Kathy Woodard of TheBudgetDecorator.com
"If you’re spending a week or more in a popular destination during high season, consider renting a home instead of booking
a hotel. Choose a house just outside the tourist area to save even more."
- Mark Kahler of BudgetTravel.About.com
"When going to a theme park (or doing any activity that requires a ticket), ask about a group rate or a ‘buy one adult, get
one child free’ policy. Our 13-year-old counts as an adult, so we can get three free kids tickets along with the three adult
ones we buy."
- Tiffany Ivanovsky of MyLitter.com
"I always look for inexpensive ways to entertain my son when we’re at the store. I try to include him in the process by giving
him a special list to carry and a crayon to mark off items as we put them in the cart."
- Melissa Jennings of StockpilingMoms.com
"My boys love eating berries, which aren’t cheap even when they’re in season. So we go to a local farm to pick berries and
learn about where our food comes from. Visit pickyourown.org to find a farm near you."
- Sarah Roe of MoneySavingQueen.com
"Kick off summer reading by hosting a white elephant–style book swap for your kids and their class. Ask each child to come
with three books, and set up a bookmark-decorating station."
- Kristl Story of TheBudgetDiet.com
"Why buy a new jucier or bread maker when you can find a used one in near-mint condition? Look for small appliances at garage
sales and thrift stores and on Craigslist. Chances are they've been used only once or twice."
- Mercedes Levey of CommonSensewithMoney.com
"Before a summer shower, let the kids scatter buckets around the yard (including one under a downspout), record how much rain
accumulates and transfer it to a watering can."
- Monica Freier and Stephanie Nelson of ObsessiveCouponDisorder.com
"Running the dishwasher two more times after a summer party costs much less than one-use pans, paper plates and plastic cups."
- Clair Boone of MummyDeals.org
"I’ve found that prices are lowest one to two weeks before school starts. Make sure you buy enough items for the entire year
so you aren’t stuck paying full price when your child needs more."
- Beth Montgomery of InGoodCents.com
"Invite friends and neighbors who have kids about the same age as yours to come over with gently used clothes (separated by
gender and size), then everyone can ‘shop’ for new duds."
- Melissa Hurst of SavingCentsWithSense.net
"On weekends, I make a large breakfast—pancakes, waffles or burritos—and put the leftovers in a freezer-safe dish. My family
heats up the food for an easy meal during the week."
- Kristy Still of MommyHatesCooking.com
"Create your own noisemakers for fall football games by decorating old plastic bottles with streamers, pom-poms and stickers
in your child’s school colors. Fill it with 15 to 20 pennies or beads and secure the top."
- Andrea Deckard of SavingsLifestyle.com
"I get great bread deals at my local bakery outlet (a loaf of whole wheat for as low as $1.25, for example), then I freeze
the loaves until I’m ready to use them."
- Christina Brown of NorthernCheapskate.com
"Your oven uses the most energy when it’s preheating, so plan out which dishes need to be cooked in the oven and bake everything
at once—or as closely scheduled as possible."
- Marybeth Hamilton of Baby Good Buys
"Stock up on cans of pumpkin puree when they go on sale around Thanksgiving. Add it to chili or stews for some extra veggie
goodness and fiber. You won’t notice a change in taste—I promise!"
- Anne-Marie Nichols of This Mama Cooks
"Instead of buying and installing costly weather stripping, renters should use window insulation kits to easily and temporarily
keep the cold air out and the warm air in."
- Mandi Welbaum of Mandi Minding Money
"Habitat for Humanity has ReStores throughout the country. They sell new and used appliances, cabinetry, plumbing supplies,
doors and windows at 50 percent to 70 percent below retail."
- Lori Loomis of Moms by Heart
"Staggering the use of big appliances uses less energy overall. Bake in the morning, run the dishwasher once the oven is off,
do laundry in the middle of the day and enjoy Christmas lights in the evening.
- Jill Bender of Single Mom on a Budget
"Take advantage of drugstore sales. You usually can score free over-the-counter medications by using store rewards and coupons.
I pick up a whole year’s supply for almost nothing out of pocket!"
- Janel Weaber of Good Deal Mama
"Prioritize the recipes that really cut costs. I save $800 a year on homemade yogurt alone and $30 on each batch of chicken
stock. Also, stretch your meat with beans or lentils so you can afford to buy organic and grass-fed meats."
- Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship
"It’s never too early to start filling up your gift stash for birthday parties and last-minute presents. Take advantage of
post-holiday clearance sales and put away items for later in the year."
- Anna Bannister of Your Retail Helper
"I add a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed to smoothies, applesauce, (dairy-free) yogurt and baked goods for a simple and
inexpensive way to get more omega-3s. I process whole flaxseed in a coffee grinder and freeze it."
- Erin Chase of 5 Dollar Dinners
"Drop some holly, pinecones or other greenery into a clean, empty half-gallon paper carton. Cut a 2-foot piece of twine and
drop 6 inches or so into the carton. Fill with water and freeze. Then tear off the paper for a homemade ice sculpture."
- Maggie Miller of familyfrugalfun.com
"Remember the 3-3-2 rule: The first three days after a major holiday, stores usually cut prices by 50 percent. For the next
three days prices are down 75 percent, and on the last two days everything is 90 percent off."
- Melea Johnson of freebies2deals.com
"Many grocery stores that run buy-one, get one free offers are often just selling items 50 percent off, so to get the best
deal, use a coupon on each item."
- Andrea Barnes of theqtippingmom.com
"Vacuum refrigerator coils to save on electricity, inspect sliding glass doors for dirty rails (which lead to air leaks) and
run a dishwasher cycle with distilled white vinegar to remove hard-water deposits and reduce the machine's energy demands."
- Sharon Wood of momondealz.com
"I spray down my counter and floor with cleaners, turn my attention to other areas, then return with warm water in about 15
minutes. By letting the product soak in, I don't need to spend any time scrubbing."
- Aimee Brittain of prettyfrugaldiva.com