Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thing 44: The Economy

Lots of good links here! Thanks!

I found out my car's mileage* and carbon footprint (, identified the pest that's been chewing up my plants (U of M Extension), tried very hard to connect with my bank on, and found a great t-shirt on a click-through from Frugal Dad to Dress Me: a picture of William Shatner with the caption, "Shat happens." He sure does.

I looked at and might go back to set up an account. I only have two bills that I don't pay with automatic online banking; but with so few, they often slip my mind until it's too close to the due date for comfort.

I was kind of baffled by the cell phone plan comparison tool. I didn't see the option I currently have, so it was like comparing apples to oranges. Nevertheless, I did pick up a few facts about other cell plans.

I investigated Deals and Coupons on, including a few articles confirming some of my beliefs about the value of spending extended time poring over the Sunday coupon circulars (low value; speed through and only grab coupons for significant discounts for things you regularly purchase), grocery flyers (the sale prices are often only a few cents from the regular prices; best deals are on fresh produce), and coupon indexers.

I've used Freecycle in the past so I checked out Craig's list, just poking around. My experience with Freecycle was that it was great for giving things away--it was fun to meet people who were eager to get daylilies or our foosball table--but when we were looking for items they were pretty junky. Also, it's pretty competitive. Some people must check constantly. Since I was more casual about it, I was too late for most things I was interested in.

I tried the Yard Sale treasure map, but found that I'm not interested in baby clothes or furniture. I might be past my primo garage sale years. This year I'm going to have a garage sale of my own, and I'm not interested in seeking acquisitions as I try to empty my house.

I liked the Savvy Shopper's Guide to this year's deal finders, and RetailMeNot. I added the Firefox extension for RetailMeNot. No more missed online deals for me!

I like the extremely frugal Hillbilly Housewife--low-cost, home cooking from scratch. She has lots of recipes for dried mixes (e.g. seasoned rice mixes) and a competent, straightforward style.

My latest cheap thrill is the realization that the bags which line cereal and cracker boxes make excellent freezer bags and lunch bags. I already drove my kids crazy by rewashing purchased zip-lock bags, now there is another set of bags drying on the counter. Someday they'll thank me. Someday, after the years of therapy and related bills, which will beggar them, leading them to economies like re-using plastic bags. It's beautiful isn't it? The circle of life. . .

My other favorite tip, which I don't use but which I hold in reserve for truly desperate days, is to tape the light switch on the refrigerator so it doesn't go on when the door opens. That's frugal!

*EPA Est. mileage 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined. Sounds about right.

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