Welcome to Dr. Frugal!
Hello and welcome to DrFrugal.com. If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of trying to find information online that has anything to do with money, you know most sites are worthless because they're trying to pawn something. Not here--there's nothing to buy. I've tried my best to only include pragmatic, realistic informtion to help you lead a simpler life by taking care of your personal finances.
Modern consumers try to stick to a strict budget as much as possible. They cut every bill they can think of, but the food budget must remain the same. A family must always strive to avoid malnourishment while staying within the confines of the set budget. The following are some tips that one can use to eat comfortably while staying within the monthly budget:
Shop in Bulk
Food is less expensive for a consumer who shops in bulk. Therefore a frugal consumer will want to sign up with wholesale clubs that offer essential items in bulk amounts. Wholesale club membership does require a small fee, but the fee is usually worth the contribution.
Use Coupons and Discount Codes
Coupons and discount codes provide consumers with endless access to cost cutting. A quick Internet search can return discount codes for a shopper's favorite foods. A consumer can also look toward the weekly circular for coupons that he or she can cut and take into the grocery store. Printable coupons are available online, as well.
Take Advantage of Free Meals and Free Foods
An extremely frugal family can take advantage of free food and free meals. Churches often provide free meals to families that are trying to make ends meet. They often have food pantries, as well. A family can contact a local congregation and ask about their pantries and their meals. Most churches serve their free meals once per week, and the consumer can offer a small donation to show appreciation for the church's kindness.
Many restaurants have free meals for children that are a certain age. The parent will have to make a purchase to take advantage of the free meal, but the offer can still cut the overall cost for the family's dining.
Experiment with Smoothies and Shakes
Another good way to stretch the monthly grocery funds is to experiment with smoothies and shakes. A consumer can make a delicious smoothie with very few ingredients. A pound of bananas can go a long way, for example.
Use Credit Card Features and Grocery Cards
Grocery store membership cards offer customers the opportunity to save money. A consumer can obtain a card by requesting one at the front desk of a grocery store that he or she frequents. Taking a few minutes to complete an application can save the consumer hundreds of dollars a month.
A frugal customer can start with the previously mentioned suggestions and then build on them to make the monthly budget work.
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Dresser drawers and closets tend to become full over the years as the seasons change. Families end up having overflowing storage areas if they do not frequently examine their inventory and search for creative ways to eliminate extra items. Winter clothing is one item that tends to be bulky and take up closet space and drawer space.
Various household items can take a large amount of space, as well. A homeowner can earn money by selling extra items. The following are some places that the person can go to do such:
The Local Newspaper
A person can contact the local newspaper to sell household items such as appliances, gaming systems, electronics and the like. Winter clothing may be difficult to sell using the newspaper because people may want to see a visual image of it first.
The eBay Site
The eBay website is an auction site that allows consumers to offer their goods to the world for sale. Billions of people use eBay to sell their extras. Their registration requirements are not demanding, and the listing fees are inexpensive. A person can conduct a one-day auction, a three-day auction or a seven-day auction. Alternatively, sellers have the option to list their items in non-auction sales for 30 days.
Craigslist is a free online classified ad website that allows people to list their items and offer them to people in their local areas. Interested persons can contact the sellers by telephone or email and negotiate the price. Then, the two parties can meet at a public place to finalize the sale. Many people enjoy Craigslist because they can obtain cash the same day.
Yard sales are great for families that want to rid themselves of a multitude of items in the household. Frugal consumers area always driving around in search of a good yard sale at which they can find deals. A family can bring in several hundred dollars if it has many pieces of clothing and household items to sell.
Finally, flea markets are a good place for people who have a healthy amount of items to sell. Flea markets operate by renting tables to vendors for a certain number of hours. Vendors can then offer their goods to people who visit the flea market for inexpensive items.
One should never throw away unwanted winter clothing or appliances because someone will always need such items. A family can use any of the aforementioned methods quickly to gather funds for household bills, savings, vacations and more.
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The wintertime is the part of the year that produces high bills. The electric bill seems to be a bill that soars the most. However, other bills such as the cable bill and the telephone bill may rise during the winter months, as well. The following are some home improvement tips and random tips that a homeowner can use to reduce those escalated winter bills.
Raise the Door Threshold
Many homeowners overlook a part of the home that causes warm air to escape and cold air to enter: the door threshold. The bottom of the door needs to come into full contact with the threshold so that the air does not escape. The project of raising the threshold is painless, and the homeowner can purchase the tools and materials at a home improvement store such as Lowe's or Home Depot.
Apply Plastic Film to the Windows
Plastic is quite effective for keeping air from entering or leaving a crevice. A homeowner can cut down the electric bill by putting plastic window film over the cracks. Plastic film is another cheap item with a quick installation time. The electric bill could decrease significantly after the person applies the film.
Use Space Heaters
Space heaters can be a viable solution to a cold house. They do not use the same amount of electricity that a central system uses, and the consumer can confine them to only one room. A person can purchase a space heater for approximately $14-$40 from a nearby department store. The best space heater to buy is one that has an automatic shutoff system. Automatic shutoff systems protect the members of the household from accidental fires.
Purchase a Digital Thermostat
Finally, homeowners can cut their electric bills down by installing a digital thermostat. Having the most updated thermostat is a smart move for a person who wants to manage the bills. A thermostat will turn the central heating system off once the home reaches a certain temperature. Such control will prevent astronomical bills that come from not monitoring how the system distributes the heat.
Instal a Satellite System
Families can install a satellite system to cut the cable bill down. Some providers offer free channels to customers who pay one time to buy the satellite system equipment. A good way to cut the phone bill is to switch to a VoIP provider. Starting VoIP service does not require home remodeling, but it does require an installation onto a mobile phone or a home computer.
The previously mentioned tips should help to create a decreased overall expense. Additional ideas may develop once the person sees changes in the monthly bill.
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Everyone gets the urge to conduct spring cleaning at one time or another. Spring cleaning is a process that involves ridding oneself of unwanted household items to make room for other things. Spring cleaning can be frustrating if the person does not have a concrete plan in place. The following are some tips for a smooth spring cleaning process:
Gather "Cleaning" Supplies
The first step in the spring cleaning process should be gathering the necessary supplies. The person should visit a nearby dollar store and purchase three or four packs of garbage bags. An abundant supply of garbage bags will make it possible for the cleaner to do quick sweeps. Quick sweeps occur when a person opens a bag and then throws a mound of unwanted items away. A spring cleaner will want to purchase cleaning gloves, air fresheners, mops and brooms, as well.
Separate Donation Items First
After gathering trash bags and storage boxes, the cleaner will want to go through the closets and drawers to find items that he or she can donate. Many unfortunate people need clothing for themselves and their family members. Organizations such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill give struggling people the opportunity to obtain clothing for a cheap price. Therefore, no one should throw away unworn clothing during spring cleaning, as someone else may need it.
Clean One Room at a Time
A successful spring cleaner has to stay organized. Cleaning only one room at a time keeps down clutter and confusion. The person will want to start with the smallest room in the house like the children's room. The person should work his or her way around the house until every room is devoid of unnecessary items. The cleaning may take several hours or several days. The key is for the person to avoid getting frustrated with the process.
Reward Family Members for Helping
The cleaning process can go smoother with the help of the members of the household. Not many people enjoy cleaning. Therefore, the person in charge may want to offer the family members prizes or rewards for helping. The children may help with the cleaning for a small gift such as a candy bar. The spouse may require additional persuasion, but he or she will help eventually. A cleaner may be able to talk a neighbor into helping, too. The event could be fun with the right attitude and a sense of motivation.
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Income tax time is a time of headaches and stress for people who will owe taxes. It can be a time of rejoicing for people who are eligible for refunds, however. Taxpayers who do not have an excessive income can qualify for certain credits and deductions that can help them to obtain refunds. The following are some common income tax credits that can place a taxpayer on the refund side of a yearly return:
Earned Income Credit
Earned income credit is perhaps one of the most popular credits that taxpayers seek. They can receive a refund of $503 to $6,242 if they meet the qualifications. To qualify for earned income credit, the taxpayers must not select the "married filing separately" filing status. All other statuses will qualify the taxpayer for EIC. The taxpayer must have earned income to qualify for EIC, as well. Earned income can come from a business or by working with a regular employer.
Several educational credits are available for taxpayers who went to college during the year. One example of an educational credit is the tuition and fees deduction. The tuition and fees deduction provides a taxpayer with a deduction of up to $4,000 for tuition expenses. To qualify for the tuition fees and deduction credit, the taxpayer must earn less than $160,000 if he or she is married or less than $65,000 for the unmarried person.
Some taxpayers can take a deduction of up to $2,500 for the interest on their student loans. To qualify for the deduction, the person must have an annual income of less than $150,000 if he or she is married and $60,000 if unmarried. Additionally, only certain tax forms allow the deduction.
A taxpayer can take many credits if that person owns a business. Examples of some business expenses that one can claim are electric bills, automobile expenses, and traveling expenses. A business owner can claim business credits in one of two ways. The person can use the standard $1,500 credit that does not require extensive calculation. Alternatively, the person can complete a long form and itemize all of his or her business deductions. Itemizing the deductions may be better for someone who has many yearly business expenses.
Several other income tax credits are available. The taxpayer can started with the previously mentioned deductions and then search for additional credits.
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