I was raised frugally, and it stuck. I hate to spend money on something that I can make myself, or get cheaper elsewhere, or repurpose something free, or make do without. So I wanted to quickly as possible mention a few things I use.
I know on every list of “free” tips on the internet include an honorable mention for the library, but really use every part of it! The library is there for YOU, and best it’s completely free! I use the library for:
Books, Novels – obviously, but I’m still surprised at the number of people who buy a book they’ve never read. I get ALL my books at the library and then only the buy the ones I KNOW that I’ll want to loan to people or read again.
Books, How To – there is an amazing wealth of knowledge around ever corner at your library, if you need to learn ANYTHING, there is a book about it. Learning to knit, learning carpentry, learning how to make your own solar panels, learning about gardening, growing fruit trees, parenting tips, quilting, raising a puppy, you name it, it’s there – don’t buy how to books, borrow them!
Books, Cooking – why buy cookbooks, I really don’t understand people who do. The library has hundreds of cookbooks just waiting for you to read them. And if you find a recipe you like, take a photo of it until you have a chance to make the dish. Then if you like what you make, you’ll have a copy of the recipe to make again later.
Movies – same as books, why pay for movies, if you don’t know that you like them? Even redbox and netflix is silly, the library buys all the new movies, and usually even in blu-ray.
Music – if there is a new cd you want to hear, or just in the mood for some oldies, get a cd from the library, they have everything, and they let you jam out with it for three weeks or more! Then if you really love it buy through ebay at a discount.
Magazines – the world has enough wasted paper, why waste your money ordering magazines to come to your house (which you have to throw away later), when you can flip through the latest copy of whatever in a comfy chair at your quiet and relaxing local library? Also, the library keeps back copies that you can borrow!
AudioBooks – CD copies are available for in-the-car-commuting and road trips, or download to-go on your mp3 player. They also have children’s audio to go with the children’s books, often in the author’s voice!
Culture Passes – free admission to local haunts, can’t beat that.
Summer Reading Program – free games and prizes!
Kill A Watt monitor – http://energytrust.org/library/build-energy-awareness/kill-a-watt.aspx
Computers – free access to the internet, this is becoming obsolete as cell phones increasingly merge with tablet computers, but there have been times when I’m out of the house, or even in a different city, and needed to use a computer really quick. Just ask for a guest login, and voila’! free computer access. Also most libraries have free wifi!
Free Air Conditioning – don’t knock it til it’s 100 degrees outside, and a cozy 70 degrees in your free library that encourages loitering in their comfy overstuffed chairs while you read every magazine and newspaper they have!
Also, if your library doesn’t have a copy of what you want, don’t forget about interlibrary loans!
I’m not good at ‘extreme couponing’ like you can see on tv, my sister is queen of that. However the reason that it doesn’t appeal to me is those coupons are for things I NEVER buy. Prepackaged foods, when we buy mostly fruit, or things my family does without like paper towels, or things my family makes for themselves like dish soap and deodorant. There are times that I use coupons though, and that is to buy sewing supplies or electronics. I can use regular towels instead of wasteful paper towels, but I must have electronics – I’m not a caveman. :D
Retailmenot.com – my favorite place to get printed coupons or coupon codes. I NEVER buy something without first checking around to get the best price, and then checking this site to see if I can find a coupon or coupon code. Office Depot almost always has good coupons available.
Michaels & Joann’s craft stores – using retailmenot.com you can print off coupons, usually 40% to 50% coupons. And don’t worry if you can only find Michaels coupons when you are planning to go to Joann’s, or the other way around, they accept each other’s coupons! Want to make someone’s day? Print off an extra coupon, and give it to the person in line behind you!
Store Cards and Newsletters – goes without saying to sign up for the “savings cards” and “rewards cards” at stores that you frequent. It’s also a good idea to sign up for any newsletters at places you like to shop as that is a source of coupons and sales.
This is a scrapbook page I made after we first moved to Oregon, the Portland area has such extraordinary libraries!