Friend owe you $50? Roommates 'forgot' to chip in for utilities? Deal with it electronically.
Are you the guy who books the party bus and always ends up eating more than his share of the cost? Does your BFF frequently "forget" that you picked up the last three lunch tabs?
Technology can help keep the bank of best friends running smoothly. "Social bill pay" companies like PayDivvy and Splitwise track expenses both small and large.
A third company, Crowdtilt, lets groups fund shared goals as small as booking a skybox at the stadium or as large as renting Alcatraz Island for Halloween.
Yes, really: A group of 300 got together to rent "The Rock" at the end of October. Imagine trying to collect fees from 299 other people.
Spending shouldn't be too easy. Saying no not only improves the bottom line but makes the yes occasions that much better.
No, I couldn't skip packing my lunch. No, I couldn't shop anywhere but the thrift store. No, I couldn't go to every new movie that came out, or even to most of them.
As my finances improved, the knee-jerk "no" morphed into "You can have it if you think it through." So how often does that translate to "yes"?
When it comes to bills, think outside the payment envelope -- monthly college payments, for example, or a loan whose interest is paid in veggies.
For example, how'd you like to pay for all your produce by "investing" in a small farm? Or to view your kid's college tuition as a series of monthly payments?
Did you splurge on too many daily deals, or miss a deal you wanted? The secondary market can help.
Sites like CoupFlip, CoupRecoup and MyCabbage (formerly Deals Go Round) are also a buyer's market, i.e., a great way for procrastinators to snag deals they missed the first time around.
Many are resold at original face value. "People just want to get their money back," says CoupRecoup founder Aren Sandersen. But as time ticks on, you might see discounts -- and sometimes those discounts are deep:
- $40 worth of tapas for $1.71 (Chicago).
- $55 worth of spray-tan sessions for $2.25 (Washington, D.C.).
- $90 worth of waxing for $3.15 (Boston).
My upcoming move to Alaska made me face facts: I have more than I need. But how to let go?
At one time those things had all been important to me. Truth be told, some of them still were. But I'd decided it was time to let go, especially since I'd decided to move to Alaska within the year.
"Good thing I gave away so much," I thought. "It'll make packing a lot easier."
Then I took a look at what remained. For a self-avowed frugalist, I sure own a lot of stuff.
Once you've met your own needs, why not join other people who use their coupon powers for good?
Experienced couponers know the satisfaction of getting food or household supplies free or nearly free. It's a great way to stretch available funds and maybe even free up money for long-term financial goals.
But some take it a step further: They use their coupon powers for good. Can you picture yourself as a coupon superhero?
Save money and tame closet clutter with a 'wear everything challenge.'
Shopping trips and closet purges are not the way to get there. Not right away, anyhow. Try a "wear everything challenge" instead.
Sometimes that old saying is dead wrong.
His first guess -- rolling eyes and derisive snorts -- was correct.
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WHAT IS FRUGAL NATION?
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.
ABOUT 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.
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Get your emergency fund together now if you want to avoid stumbling over costly surprises in the future.