Friday, September 26, 2014

Frugal Tips Via Jill Cataldo

I was recently reading an article that a friend shared with me. A newspaper columnist Jill Cataldo wrote in reference to saving money. Jill reached out to her readers to inquire about their money saving tips. Apparently, there was no shortage of ideas on how to cut corners.

I found the article to be interesting. Although a few of the ideas may be controversial. I learned a few frugal lessons that could very well pertain to my family. For instance,  Jill suggest to take beverages along with you in the car to avoid overspending on drinks during your outting. I am definitely an individual that must have a drink on hand. I make this mistakes often. If the family is with me, the price definitely climbs. One of the ways that I've been trying to curb this appetite to wet my wistle is by keeping both a cup for cold drinks and hot beverages at work. Fortunately,  in my office ice, water, coffee,  hot tea and hot chocolate are complimentary and readily available. However, you must bring your own container to take advantage of the beverages available. In addition, there is an overpriced vending machine that has welcomed my hard earned dollars on more than one occasion. Each beverage ranges between $1.50 to $2.00 a piece. I have reduced my dependence on that wonderful modern vending machine. The machine even accepts credit and debit cards. The convenience surely is thickening someone's wallet. I would imagine that I'm saving at least 3 to 5 trips a week by not visiting the vending machine. I'd say I'm saving a minimum of five dollars a week by having the convenience of my own personal cups. Now to avoid the gas station.

I completely agree with her idea of only shopping online if the store is offering free shipping. I like to occasionally take advantage of online deals. There are a few exceptions. I believe in small business and I would make an exception for Etsy, perhaps eBay. It just depends on the circumstance and where the money comes from. If I sell on eBay or Etsy, then I am more likely to be comfortable with paying for shipping.I generally stick to free shipping offers. I also like Amazon. You can purchase$35.00 of Amazon goods to qualify for free shipping. One year,  I purchased Amazon Prime to benefit from the free shipping. It depends on the situation but overall, I rarely pay for shipping outside of eBay and Etsy.

Jill mentions taking advantage of the dollar store.I definitely agree with this.I understand that the Dollar Tree stores now accept coupons, That is a bonus too.

Jill suggest bringing home extra condiments from dining out, fast food and such. I won't throw away an extra ketchup or hot sauce package but I've never shopped for free condiments. I don't know if I would play along with this idea. Naturally, I won't waste leftover packets but I'm not quite an "extreme cheapskate." Then again, have you noticed the rising cost of mayonnaise? Hmm, perhaps I should contemplate this one. My children did once go through an eight pound container of ketchup. (and that was before Master K. was born. [Plus Miss.B. did share the remainder of the bottle with our German Sheppard, Sable, at that time. Sable had a large appetite,  Lol. Imagine my surprise when I returned from the laundry room. Lol.] However, I must state that I wouldn't shop for condiments at a restaurant. Taking an abundance of condiments would be stealing. I will however bring home and save the extras given to me. I also know that others in my office save leftover condiments and share them with others by placing them in the break room.

Speaking of eight pounds of ketchup. Jill suggest avoiding the membership warehouse type stores. I'm not sure about this. I've heard that some people save money by purchasing in bulk. I imagine that it would be the impulse shopping that would be the issue. Debatable I guess.

Now for my personal preferences:

Jill suggest turning off the air conditioner and heater.It is also recommend to only use window units. Sorry,  that's not happening in Florida. Certainly not for a lady with a thyroid condition constantly making me hot, the Florida heat and humidity and let's not even mention the hot flashes. However, against my better judgment (Preference really) our air conditioner has been set at the same temperature for the last six months since our move.  We are saving $200 a month by moving away from a horrible electric company. We are also  saving energy by only using appliances during non peak hours at night. I'd still like to see this bill reduced. As far as window units,  not all communities allow them. When ut cools off, I'm not against window fans. In the future I'd like to consider a portable air conditioner to see how that would compare.

Jill or perhaps her readers, suggest ordering only one meal for two people if dining out. I guess this would have to depend on the location,  pricing, occasion and similar. If it is a special occasion I'd rather not. Dining out is an enjoyable outting. I do believe that there are ways to save but for me,  it would have to be a case per case basis. I do agree that it would save money to eat at home.

There is a handful of suggestions in the article. You can read the original article on her website. I recommend taking a peek at it.

How do you save money? Any frugal ideas? Are any of you extreme cheapskates? I'd love to learn of your ideas and suggestions.