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Frugal Living: There is No “One Size Fits All”

by Ryan Guina

There are thousand of ways to be more frugal and save money, and what works for some, won’t work for others. A recent article, Ditch those money-sucking bills, by Liz Pulliam Weston of MSN Money, gave a lot of frugal living tips and examples that readers left on her site. The best part is, many of the examples are contrasting. That’s awesome! Too many people give “one size fits all” financial advice.

Another big focus of the article is to find ways to end or lower recurring monthly bills such cable, internet, gym membership, telephone, Netflix or Blockbuster, etc. Her reasoning is that many times, you don’t always need or get what you pay for.

Frugal things my wife and I do that may not work for others:

Cell phones - we each have a cell phone, but we do not have a telephone land line. Our basic cell phone plan has plenty of minutes, we have free long distance, and we have Internet cable, so we do not find it necessary to have a telephone land line. Other people may find it cheaper to have a land line or VoIP, and skip the cell phone. Xome people may find it cheaper to cancel their cell phone and just use a landline.

Utilities – We use a programmable thermostat to turn on our furnace when we are home, and shut off when we are away. We don’t have pets, so we don’t have to worry about it being too hot or cold when we are not there. We also set the thermostat at 77 in the summer and 68 in the winter, and dress to be comfortable in the house. Our utility bills are usually about half (or less) of people I work with who have comparable houses. When the weather is nice, we open windows and turn on fans. We both work, so we can turn off the utilities when we leave. Others have people pets at home all the time, so this doesn’t work for them. There are other ways you can save on heating and cooling bills.

Cable – My wife and I have basic cable, which covers the shows we watch often, such as Discovery, ESPN, History, Food Network, etc. We don’t find the need to get the premium channels. The article recommends ditching cable completely for some people, cutting down on premiums for others, and some people claim it is cheaper to have the premiums and not rent movies or have Netflix or Blockbuster.

The article has many other creative tips money saving tips from her readers. Some of them will work for us, and others will not. But that is the point of Personal Finance. It is personal. Everyone needs to examine their own situation and find what works for them. There is no “one size fits all” for frugal living. ;)


Published or updated December 9, 2010.
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