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The Envelope System Experiment: Lessons Learned

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I have learned a few things after using the cash envelope system for a month. Not the least of which is how difficult it is to stay squarely within a budget!  Although I tried The Envelope System last summer, the lessons I learned have stayed with me. Now that we are flush with some cash in our bank accounts, I wonder whether I should try using cash again, but reconsidered. Here’s why … Cash is Not King Despite my idealistic efforts to have no exceptions to our “cash only” policy, there Read more […]

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Tips for Finding the Best Deal on Tax Preparation Software

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(Please note that there are affiliate links in this post.) I love collecting the tax forms that arrive in my mailbox every January. Does that make me strange? OK, I know I’m a bit of an oddball. I like to do my taxes every year. It’s a fun puzzle to see how much income we had the year before and plug in our deductions, credits, and exemptions. I love to see how that little (or large!) number at the top of my screen changes. Year after year, I also seek out the best prices for TurboTax. Read more […]

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Frugal Holiday Check-in

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My son just reminded me that there are only 10 day until Christmas. To him, that seems like for.ever. To me, it seems a little too soon. I have been steady checking items off of my “to do” list and attempting to stay on budget. Last year, I admitted to having some frugal holiday failures. Thankfully, I learned from those mistakes and won’t repeat them again this year. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); First, I am done buying gifts. I have completed the shopping for Read more […]

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9 Lego Gifts for Every Kid and Every Budget

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I never understood Legos when I was young. Maybe I was frugal even then, but I thought it was a waste of money to get such an expensive set of bricks that could build only one thing; and then, after you built it, what do you do with it? I thought you only used each Lego set once, and that seemed like a waste. Sure, I would love to put together the Lego castle set, but somehow I knew that I was never going to get such an extravagant toy. What was I going to do with it after building the castle? Twenty Read more […]

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Best Baby Gifts Under $20

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      All babies are different, but when both of my children have the same favorite books and toys, I put those books and toys at the top of my gift list for other kids. It should come as no surprise, then, that I have bought several glowing seahorses and peekaboo books in the past few years. Here are a few more of my “go to” gifts for kids: (Links to Amazon are affiliate links. Your purchases through those links support this blog. Thank you!) Favorite Infant Books: Baby Read more […]

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My 2015 Black Friday Shopping List

Long-time readers know I love me some Black Friday deals. As you can see from my rules for Black Friday shopping, I don’t stand in line at Best Buy or brave the crowds at WalMart. In fact, all of my Black Friday shopping (four years in a row now) has been extremely tame. I buy toiletries, household goods, gift cards, and antivirus software. Ho hum. So, it should be no surprise that the same things are on my list this year, at my same old favorite stores: Staples, Michael’s, CVS, and Walgreens. For Read more […]

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Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

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We can’t afford much when it comes to home improvement these days. After all, our home improved by a lot when we bought our house last Spring. One of the first improvements we prioritized, however, was a home energy audit. Like other states, our state has a program that provides free home energy audits. Not only does the auditor assess your home’s energy efficiency, she tells you what kinds of incentives and rebates are available for your situation. The auditor also replaced all 14 of Read more […]

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Frugal Friday: Halloween Costumes for Less

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In sharp contrast to last year, when Halloween and my due date were dangerously close, I have been slacking on getting Little Stapler’s costume together. I also don’t have Baby Stapler’s costume ready. Thankfully it’s not too late to be frugal.  Little Stapler wants to dress in the same dinosaur costume he wore two years ago, so “all” I need to do is to make it a teensy bit bigger. I’ll have to rip out the seams at the crotch, shoulders, and sleeves. I haven’t yet started. I’m afraid Read more […]

Friday’s Frugal Tips: Travel for Free

Today, personal finance people from around the country converge for the latest FinCon convention. Due to a pile of unfortunate circumstances, I'm not able to join them. If I were to join them, here's how I would hack it ... Open a New Credit Card. Don't you dare carry a balance on it, but open up a card that offers great mileage rewards to the city where you want to fly and open another that offers travel rewards in the form of a statement credit. I have done this for the past two FinCon conferences Read more [...]
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Should you Buy the Scholastic Books Even if You’re on a Tight Budget?

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Our oldest son devours books. We had to impose a three-book limit to his bedtime routine. Otherwise, he could listen to us read him books forever! I love a good deal on books. The cheapest place to get books will always be the library. My favorite place to buy children’s books is also at the library — at library booksales. Paperbacks are usually $0.50 and hardcovers $1 each. Even PaperbackSwap can’t beat those prices. So when our oldest son came home from kindergarten with four Scholastic Read more […]