Ten Purchases to Help With Frugality

When I discuss frugality and money saving strategies with those who are just starting down the frugal road, one of the things they always want to know is, “What can I buy that will help me become more frugal?” I always have to swallow a chuckle because buying things to become frugal is oxymoronic. You don’t “buy” to “save.” However, in our culture we’re taught that there is always a way to buy your way into any lifestyle change. Many people approach frugality the same way. They think there are some magical objects that you can buy that will make you frugal. While I don’t agree with the mindset, I’ve come up with a list of things tha


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10 Responses to Ten Purchases to Help With Frugality

  1. Annie Jones says:

    Some kind of effective budgeting program for the computer.

    I use Budget made by Snowmint Creative Solutions, but there are a lot of good programs available. The one I use features a virtual “envelope system” and has made all the difference in how my husband and I allocate, spend and save our money.

    The Budget program comes with free lifetime upgrades, a free trial version and a money-back guarantee. The company provides excellent customer service, too.

  2. Craig Ford says:

    Could we add an Entertainment book? That thing is packed full of great money saving coupons you can actually use.

  3. Snowy Heron says:

    Wow, I’ve done everything on the list except the coffeemaker – but I don’t drink coffee! I actually used to subscribe to the Tightwad Gazette, when it was still just a newsletter. One other class that I can recommend is one that our local water company offered so that people could learn to make minor plumbing repairs. My husband took it not long after we bought our first house and it has paid huge dividends over the years. And he doesn’t even consider himself to be very handy!

  4. Frugaltexan75 says:

    I would love to take a car care class. I’ve been looking for one pretty much ever since I moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area with no luck. However, I never thought about just asking someone who knows cars well to teach me – that is something I’ll have to look into.

    Another class that would be good is a computer building and maintanece class – it costs a lot less for you to do it yourself (building a computer) and if you know how to maintain it ( clean viruses, etc.) it will last much longer.

  5. fern says:

    1. A programmable timer for electric hot water heater. Works similar to timer on thermostat. I don’t know why more people don’t know about these. Mine is only on 3 hours a day and i have plenty of hot water. Why heat the water 8-10 hours daily when you’re away at work?

    2. Borrow a Kill-O-Watt Meter. My public library actually loans them out. Plug any appliance into it to get an idea how much energy different household appliances use up.

    3. If you can’t string up a clothesline, you can still buy drying racks; I use mine all the time.

    You may want to revisit the possibility of using computer-generated coupons. It took a while for some grocers to catch on, but more are accepting them now.

    I once signed up for a minor repairs for the homeowner class with continuing education, but they canceled the class due to lack of interest, which was disappointing.

    Buying a coupon organizer seems like overkill, especially the 3-ring binder. I keep mine in an envelope.

    Buying cookbooks is really unnecessary since you can find all the recipes you want, plus reviews of them by other readers, on many online recipe sites like http://www.recipezaar.com.

    I think a slow cooker saves you some money becus you can buy cheap cuts of meat that take hours to tenderize, but the main advantage of the slow cooker is that it saves time.

  6. Gail says:

    Absolutely. Those cookbooks and others like them can be found many times at Friends of the Library book sales. I’ve picked up cookbooks anywhere from 10 cents to up to $2.

    I have found that a simple spiral notebook, 15 cents during back to school sales, is all I need for keeping track of when bills are due and looking ahead to future payments, especially those yearly things that always surprise people. The system I follow, set up by me for me, has helped me through out the last 10+ years.

  7. Hilary says:

    Thanks for the list! I just bought The Complete Tightwad Gazette for my friend (and myself) for Christmas!

  8. Mike Harris says:

    A coin counter. Dump your change, bring the rolls to your bank.

  9. Annie Jones says:

    A coin counter is a good idea for some people, but a bad idea for others; our bank won’t take rolled coins. You must bring them loose and run them through their counting machine.

  10. Gail says:

    Our bank takes rolled coins but the thought of BUYING a coin counter as a frugal thing is kind of a weird thought for me. I’ve always had a kid in the house (or now he comes over) that has been happy to count the coins for me if I didn’t want to. What is so hard about counting coins that you would need to buy something to help you with it?

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