In our tough economy, living frugal has become a lifestyle for many American taxpayers. Earlier today one of my favorite finance blogs, WalletPop.com, put together a helpful list of 20 rules to live by in order to save money. I have included a few of their “cheapskate” tips below, but you can find the full list at WalletPop.com.
Use technology to help you compare prices and look for coupons. Josh Smith, our resident tech guru and the editor of Notebooks.com, says that if you have a smart phone, "there are plenty of apps that will scan the bar code --- ShopSavvy is one -- and will find the best prices for you. And if you're online, visit RetailMeNot.com and enter the store name to see current coupons."
Think ahead with your child's friends' birthday parties. Bonnie McCarthy, who writes a lot about family and money, suggests that people buy "cool gifts that are age-appropriate to your own darling children." That way, "the next time they're invited to a birthday soiree, you'll have a well-priced gift ready to go." That's a definite help with the "time is money" factor. Plus, if you do buy gifts ahead and really put some thought into it, you might find some good choices on sale, making your inner cheapskate even happier. And you have to love Bonnie's other advice: "Let your child make the birthday card, or craft a simple tag to put on the gift. Unless there's money inside a birthday card, it will be quickly tossed aside by even those with the best manners, and those cards cost upwards for $3 a piece!"
Skip the Groupon and mass e-mail coupon sales. Yes, they're loads of fun, concedes Vera Gibbons, who writes about women and money for WalletPop, but she says, "People are buying all sorts of stuff they never thought they wanted, and there's way too much impulse-buying going on. I know social buying websites like Groupon.com are extremely popular right now, but we're ending up with all sorts of stuff we never thought we wanted, from horseback riding lessons to harbor tours."