Think being frugal means being deprived and miserable?
Are you conjuring up images of plain oatmeal and washing
laundry by hand?
Think again! A large number of Web sites have great
ideas for revitalizing your home, personal care, and
any number of areas in your life at a lower cost. More
money left over at the end of the month means you can
do anything from investing it, becoming debt-free, or
using it for the dream vacation you always wanted without
racking up credit card debt. It’s not a fantasy!
Take a trip down these sites and see for yourself.
I like to read articles as well as tips to motivate
me to think creatively and have fun. The site http://www.stretcher.com/index.cfm
has a wide range of articles on innovative ways to be
frugal and treat yourself well. Articles for personal
care include “Frugal Workouts,” “All
Natural Masks,” and “Spa Vacation at Home.”
While checking out the main index, I saw categories
such as Hobbies, Humor, Pets, and Romance. Okay, I’ll
admit it—I looked in the romance category to see
what was offered and found articles like “25 Free
or Cheap Dates,” “Romantic Valentine’s
Day Ideas,” and “True Romance for Couples
with Kids.” Then I turned to Hobbies, where articles
such as “Feeding the Birds” and “Soapmaking:
Recipes and Directions” are located.
I discovered that other categories also contain fun
activities. In the Holidays category I found “Gifts
in a Jar,” “Halloween Costumes and Parties,”
“Inexpensive Christmas and Hanukkah Gifts.”
In the Home Decorating category, I found “Simple
Room Makeovers,” among many others topics. The
Recipes category abounds with suggestions to make eating
delicious, fun, and entertaining, with recipes such
as Chicken with Grapes, Spiced Apples, and The Chocolate
The site http://www.frugalfinesse.com/
is all about living simply in style. It offers articles
such as “Trash to Treasure,” “Dimestore
Decorating,” “Diary of a Packrat,”
and “Cookin’ Cheap.” Under the category
called Tightwad Tips you’ll find a hodgepodge
of ways to use various items such as burned-out light
bulbs, outgrown T-shirts, and even an old sock.
The Happy Tightwad at http://www.ridleypark.net/tightwad/columns.html
has upbeat articles on saving money on items like music,
books, ink for your inkjet printer, and even light bulbs.
The site proclaims: “The Happy Tightwad tells
you how to avoid overpaying and achieve true contentment
on earth. Or at least—have some money left over
after your purchases to devote to the pursuit of happiness.”
Sounds good to me.
Frugal Living Today: Getting the Most Bang for Your
Buck, at http://www2.latech.edu/~sld/frugalstuff.html,
offers many ideas on saving money on food and clothes,
along with interesting ideas, such as a recipe for making
playdough. There are also a lot of links to other frugal
sites that are worth browsing through.
Frugal Times at http://www.frugaltimes.com/
offers ideas on making homemade cleaners, budget furniture
fix-ups, and cooking with kids. Clicking to Frugal Tips,
I found categories from gardening (I never knew that
roses love crushed egg shells) to automobiles.
For all you gardeners out there, there is a wealth
of material designed to allow you to enjoy your gardens
without breaking your budget. A site describing itself
as The World’s Greatest Garden Tightwad Tips at
may be what you need. Or drop by Gardening Frugally
which offers articles on everything from container gardening
to fertilizer to finding flowers for free.
Food shopping with a frugal eye can save literally
hundreds of dollars off your grocery bill. A good site
to start is Frugal Recipes at http://www.freelancebyu.com/recipes.htm,
which combines recipes from readers and other sources.
The site also provides links to other sites such as
CopyKat Recipes, which says it can help you “create
your favorite restaurant dishes at a fraction of the
Cooking on a Shoestring, at http://www.mommysavers.com/cooking_on_a_shoestring.htm,
has categories such as Meals in Minutes, Side Dishes,
and Delicious Desserts. And Frugal Recipes for Good
Food at http://frugalliving.about.com/cs/frugalrecipes1/
has many food ideas worth dipping into, such as making
your own popsicles, and pretzels, starting your own
sourdough starter, and making skillet meals and meatless
meals. Frugal Recipes [http://www.frugalrecipes.com/html/index.php]
offers recipes such as Kung Pao Chicken and Butternut
Squash Gratin to whet the appetite and leave cash in
Budget 101 (sounds boring, doesn’t it?) at http://www.budget101.com/
is actually an interesting place to visit because of
articles like “inexpensive Gag Gifts” (reindeer
poop, anyone?) and more than 750 different mixes/jar
Do you buy makeup? That can take a large chunk out
of your wallet. The Frugal Diva at http://www.frugaldiva.com/default.asp
believes you can be divine on a budget. The site includes
reviews of different cosmetics available at very reasonable
prices (all under $15). However, there is no mention
of which cosmetics companies are cruelty-free.
Likewise, The Frugal Face at http://www.thefrugalface.com/
has some wake up calls for women who buy expensive makeup.
Along with some fun and creative makeup tips, the site
talks seriously about looking good while saving money—and
possibly considering early retirement with the money
saved and invested! The site mentions brands by name,
but again, there’s no way of knowing which brands
are cruelty-free. The owner says her site isn’t
being updated so prices may have changed.
A host of beauty tips can be found at http://beauty.about.com/cs/frugalbeauty/,
which includes articles such as “Five Frugal Cosmetic
Tips” and “Make Your Own Cleansing Cloths.”
Getting married? Worried that the cost will sink you
like quicksand? Fear not: There are a number of Web
sites eager to show you how to have a wonderful wedding
while saving for that new house. At The Frugal Bride
you’ll find articles like “A Wedding for
$1,400!?,” “Invitations for Less,”
and “Reception Ideas.”
Two approaches to tightwad weddings can be found at
where the costs ranged from $300-$3,000. In an era where
that would barely cover the cost of the flowers, that’s
no mean feat.
For more traditional ideas, USA Bride, at http://www.usabride.com/frugal/,
broke down the wedding category into Wedding Fashion,
Flowers and Décor, and Catering. Clicking on
the link for Flowers and Décor led me to links
such as Decorating the Reception and Bouquets and Corsages.
Did you think that being thrifty meant staying close
to home? At The Travel Tightwad [http://www.elliott.org/tightwad/],
you’ll find articles for saving money while on
the road. For instance, you might want to read “Fly
or Drive?” and “Good Deals are ‘Inn’
Season,” which talks about how staying at a B&B
could save you money.
At TravelLady Magazine, two articles offer very interesting
perspectives for travel and also helpful links to back
them up. To read them, go to http://www.travellady.com/Issues/Issue65/65-tightwad.htm
Four Tips for Frugal Travel (which is actually a misnomer
because there were more than four helpful links and
tips) is a helpful site located at http://budgettravel.about.com/library/weekly/aa052002d.htm.
For those who like to camp, a visit to http://members.aol.com/frugally4u/campingtips.html
can provide you with handy tips.
At All Things Frugal [http://www.allthingsfrugal.com/],
click on the link for Decorating Help for an impressive
list of articles, which include “Decorating with
Pattern,” “Disguising a Ruined Tabletop,”
and “Feng Shui.” This is quite an eclectic
mix. Also on the site are some fun ideas for kids, such
as “Rainy Day Project” and “Fun with
Pennywise Newsletter at http://www.smart-penny.com/Watchthepennies.htm
has a crafts section that gives instructions on making
cool crayons and a chalkboard table, among other projects.
There’s also some interesting personal information
about the woman who maintains the site (she practices
what she preaches).
Do you have kids? Or just feel like being silly? Making
Halloween costumes instead of buying them can be fun
and thrifty. Go to http://www.20ishparents.com/holiday/halloween/frugalcostumes.shtml.
Family activities can be found at http://members.aol.com/dsimple/familyfun.html.
One article is titled “200+ Ideas for Family Fun.”
Ever want to make a musical rain stick? Or soap? How
about some wonderful chocolate concoctions? GreenSense
shows you how. This site offers many articles and links
that cover a lot of different topics, such as How To
Make Window Quilts, Build a Worm Bin, and Build an Inexpensive
Playhouse, among other offerings. The site is a bit
offbeat but fun to read.
So turn to the Web for myriad ideas on how to think
creatively, save money, and get exactly what you want.
Judith M. Levinton is a freelance writer who’s
currently studying to become a hospital chaplain. She
lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.