Frugal NationFrugal Nation

Feeling crummy after that vacation or business trip? Dehydration may be to blame -- and it can have a financial impact.

By Donna_Freedman May 3, 2012 12:29PM

Image: Bottled water (© Grove Pashley/Corbis)Air travelers: Feel a little parched? No wonder. You've spent hours breathing air whose humidity is as low as 10%. Maybe you limited your liquid intake, too, to avoid the lavatory.

"Dehydration" simply means that you lose more fluid than you take in. That sounds like a long plane ride to me.

Dry skin, itchy eyes, headache, sticky or dry mouth, fatigue -- any of these symptoms sound familiar? Travelers with asthma or other respiratory ailments may develop breathing problems, according to this Everyday Health article.


Dehydration has a financial impact, too:


Startled by the latest total on your supermarket receipt? Rethink the way you shop.

By Donna_Freedman May 2, 2012 12:14PM

Image: Close-up of a person using a calculator in a supermarket (© George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)The "locavore" movement suggests we eat only foods grown within 100 miles of our homes. Not everyone lives near a farm, though, and while farmers markets operate in many cities, the produce can be pretty pricey.

To people concerned about how much of their paycheck is eaten up (so to speak) by grocery costs, I suggest a different challenge: Become a "frugalvore."


A new survey says she might prefer a spa day or a smartphone. Here are some frugal ways to get them.

By Donna_Freedman May 1, 2012 2:02PM
Image: Happy women (© Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Thinking of sending flowers for Mother's Day? A new survey says your mom may prefer massage to posies.

The survey, commissioned by the Ebates cash-back shopping site, shows that 48% of U.S. moms crave a spa day more than a bouquet.

Fortunately, there are frugal ways to get either one. Or both.  

Wedding clothes need not cost a fortune. You can even get a coupon for tuxedo rentals.

By Donna_Freedman Apr 30, 2012 11:21AM
Image: Bride and groom (© Image Source/Getty Images/Getty Images)Three things you should know about wedding attire:
  • The bridal gown doesn't have to cost a fortune.
  • Bridesmaids' gowns need not be one-time-use.
  • The men don't have to wear monkey suits -- but if that's the plan, did you know you can get a coupon for tux rentals?

Outfitting the bridal party can be pretty fraught, from the choice of wedding colors to the length of the veil.


It's possible to get the look you want -- even a designer look -- without emptying your wallet. Wedding planners and former brides told me so.


Your home is full of things that stall, shred, stick, crumble or clog. A whole bunch of those things can be fixed by you.

By Donna_Freedman Apr 27, 2012 1:32PM
Image: Woman Using a Spirit Level on a Sink in a Domestic Bathroom (© Alex Wilson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)Some years back I visited some college students whose front door wouldn't always open. "The knob is loose," one of them said as she shimmied through an open window.

After she let me in, I pulled out my Swiss Army knife, flipped up the Phillips-head screwdriver and went at the door. In two minutes it worked beautifully.

The 20-somethings were all agog. It had never occurred to them to tighten the screws.  

Airline employee 'buddy passes' offer travel for up to 90% off. Got any friends in high places?

By Donna_Freedman Apr 26, 2012 12:11PM

Image: Passengers on an airplane (© Image Source/Getty Images)Next week I'll fly to Alaska to house-sit, paying about $120 round-trip. Normally that ticket would cost almost $800.

How'd I get such a cheap fare? Friends in high places.


The average tab is now $1,078. Yes, really. But it doesn't have to be.

By Donna_Freedman Apr 25, 2012 1:45PM
Image: Prom couple (© Tim Jones/Getty Images)A national survey by Visa indicates that families will spend $696 to $1,944 on their kids' prom costs. That's a 33.6% increase over the 2011 average expenditure.

Startling, huh? But it gets worse: Parents who make less than $20,000 a year plan to spend more than the national average. They'll fork over $1,200 for this evening to remember.  

Having trouble paying for your pills? These tips can help.

By Donna_Freedman Apr 24, 2012 12:22PM
Image: Pills (© ImageShop/Corbis)If you don't have health insurance, the price of prescription drugs can be a real budget-buster.

But it doesn't have to be.  


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Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.


Donna Freedman

Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.