Here are a variety of frugal ideas, some tongue in cheek, others that seriously can save one a bundle in the long run.
- Volunteer. By ushering and doing other needed things for diverse organizations, one can get admission to sporting events, see museums, go to plays, hear concerts, listen to excellent speakers, and so on, often with snacks or meals thrown in, and all for free or at very low cost.
- Avoid getting the latest in new gadgets.
- Just add water. Getting low on shampoo or dishwashing detergent? A little extra liquid can made that residue go farther.
- Go to things on their admission-free days. Valerie points out, for instance, that every Thursday in Chicago one could get into the planetarium, the aquarium, and the museum of natural history at no charge.
- Get your dog, cat, or other pet from the pound, not from a professional breeder.
- Adjust the thermostat. In cooler months, set it a little lower than is most comfortable, but wear more clothing, and cook with gas. In warmer months, set it a little higher than one's ideal, but take cold showers, wear less, and use a lot of fans.
- Buy in bulk.
- Plant and look after good shade trees.
- Attend free or low cost meetings, community courses, discussions, yoga classes, book groups, hobby get-togethers, wine tastings, etc.
- Buy day old baked goods on the cheap.
A nice dog from the pound is just the thing! (Wikipedia)
- Go Dutch.
- Cut the TV cable.
- Avoid trendy anything.
- Don't speed. This leads to lower gasoline costs, less adverse effects on the environment, fewer tickets, and smaller insurance premiums.
- Travel during the off-season.
- Buy tires and tire services at a discount.
- If the yard dies during a drought, don't re-sod; just mow the weeds.
- When shopping, stick to a list and avoid impulse buys.
- Cut your own hair (or let your significant other do this for some creative surprises!) or go to Fast Freddie's Clip Joint, not to Veronica's Hair Salon.
- Eat delicious Ramon noodles, peanut butter and jelly (or honey or banana) sandwiches, 95 cent frozen dinners, or five-for-a-dollar soups.
- Do regular auto maintenance.
- Practice do-it-yourself dentistry on yourself, your spouse, and your kids.
- Selectively shop at a nearby dollar store.
- Avoid buying new cars.
- Get a lot of your clothes as hand-me-downs or from Wal-Mart, Goodwill, those little piles that appear periodically on people's curbs, or with coupon cards distributed free from department stores such as Kohl's.
- Get free or low cost music off the internet.
- As much as practicable, live below your means.
- Take care of yourself.
- Comparison shop for big-ticket items.
- Leave your car out in the rain instead of taking it to an expensive carwash.
- Don't keep up with the Jones.
- Buy a reasonably priced starter house in an average neighborhood, maintain it well, and stay there.
- Use a reel-mower, not a power grass cutter, a scythe, not an electric or gasoline weed whacker.
- Take leftovers home after almost every meal eaten out.
- Use your health insurance company's offer of free gym workouts.
- Make your own stuff (woodworking applications, greeting cards, clothes, food, gifts, etc.).
- Buy a dollar's worth of stock shares for 50 cents or less, sell for full value, and do this over and over again.
- Finally, for a super deal on free books and movies, use the library.