Bring back the mop, feather duster and rags. Also, buy a bread machine.
Cleaning? Cooking? Ugh, you say. Make friends with it, compadre; they've got to be part of the frugal warrior's toolkit.
Me, I avoid cleaning as much as possible until a young offspring can't find clean underthings and I want to howl in the chasm of Boring Adult Responsibilities and go hide in the kitchen, which I enjoy much more.
When that no longer works, and when the children look at me like you did this to me, I look for ways to make it easier. I also look for ways to make it cheaper, because when my frugal and eco-selves are in partnership, then I can feel my groove coming back. Because if there is one thing I've learned, it's that I want to spend my better days kicking butt and making change, and not spend them in Target buying overpriced refills and feeling like some crazy woman on a commercial who smiles at her mop while a song plays in the background.
The cost of Swiffer refills can really add up.
When we had our hardwood floors refinished, our floor guy finished the job by cleaning with a Swiffer Sweeper, a product he heartily endorsed.
Yes, it's great -- until you have to spring for new cloths. A box of the wet pads can cost about $11.50.
Knowing we're exposing ourself to potential ridicule from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice, who has poked fun at this and similar pursuits in a weekly post called "Frugal Friday," we've researched cheap alternatives to the very efficient but costly Swiffer cloths.
Meanwhile, Congress may make it more difficult to hide money overseas.
When the IRS offered amnesty to those hiding money in offshore accounts if they fessed up, it was just getting started.
The Internal Revenue Service has formed the Global High Wealth Industry Group, which will delve into the often fantastically complicated finances of the very rich to discover what they may be hiding. A small number of audits targeting those with tens of millions in income or assets will begin next month, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- Bing: Celebrity tax cheats
"You cannot assess compliance among the nation's wealthiest individuals by looking only at their 1040s," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman told the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' national conference this week.
Some are vampires that can suck your finances dry.
Some people claim that fear is based on ignorance, but my personal fear of 13 financial vampires masquerading as loans is based on knowledge. Some of these loans are scary because of how they’re structured, some are scary because of what you’re buying with them, and still others qualify because of whom you’re borrowing from.
I plan to stay far away from these loan monsters:
This week's airline sales are a treat, not a trick.
In the mood for a winter trip? This may be the year to take one. The airfare sales just keep coming, including some great sales this week.
Southwest Airlines launched a 72-hour sale today with fares as low as $25 each way for short flights. According to Tom Parsons’ Best Fares, these are the lowest fares offered by Southwest in 13 years.
Tickets are $25 each way for up to 375 miles, $50 for up to 549 miles, $75 for up to 999 miles, and $100 one way for more than 1,000 miles. On some routes, it’s a great deal. On others, the deals have been better.
Fake e-mail says your bank has been taken over by the FDIC.
It's all too easy to believe these days that your bank has failed and been seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The current crop of bank failures is ripe for scammers trying to fool unsuspecting account holders into handing over their personal information.
The subject line of the e-mail states: "Check your Bank Deposit Insurance Coverage."
There are several ways besides not answering the door.
As the sugar-fueled, much-anticipated mischievous holiday of Halloween draws near, frugal families are trying to figure out how they can save money on Halloween candy. Unfortunately for the money-conscious, this year's Halloween falls on the worst possible day, a Saturday.
- Video: Frugal Halloween
A Saturday Halloween means trick-or-treaters will be out earlier and longer than if it were on a workday, and that means there will be more ghosts, pumpkins and football player zombies wandering up to your door asking for candy.
However, if you're smart about how you approach Halloween, you can save yourself a little bit of money. Every little bit counts.
Quality of life is more important to him than a high-paying job.
When Forbes named Portland, Maine, the most livable city in America this year, it didn't surprise me or my wife or any of Portland's other 64,000 denizens. With a low cost of living, great culture and dining (we were also named Bon Appetit's "foodiest small town") and easy access to the ocean and mountains, Portland freaking rocks.
The only big thing Portland lacks for well-educated, ambitious 20-somethings? An abundance of career options.
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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