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How long will Americans continue to embrace frugality?

By Karen Datko Oct 9, 2009 2:40AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

Over the past few months, the mainstream media have been filled with stories about the "New Frugals" and the return to thrift. People who once lived beyond their means, financing their lifestyle with debt, have "found religion." They've begun to embrace frugality, and have discovered the joy that can come through spending less.

Not everyone is happy about this. The March issue of Redbook contained an article called "How to benefit from the recession," which profiled how four women are coping with the recession. The story prompted the following letter to the editor in the May issue:


Blogger 'didn't want to be working for a thing.'

By Karen Datko Oct 9, 2009 2:09AM

Blunt Money's first job after graduate school paid $42,000, so what was one of the first things she did? She went shopping for a new car. "Why was I doing this?" she writes. "When it came right down to it, I didn't know. It just seemed like what people did. Get a better job? Get a better car!"

It was 1999, and the car she test drove was a BMW Z3, which, she recalls, cost about $40,000 at the time. Sounds crazy, but not totally out of line with current car-buying practices. According to, car buyers on average put a measly $2,400 down, finance $24,864 and pay $479 a month. To make matters worse, the most popular loan is for more than five years, dragging those interest payments out longer than people reasonably should.

So what did Blunt Money do?


It's not just rent that you need to consider.

By Karen Datko Oct 9, 2009 1:55AM

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

One of the main reasons I bought a home was because I was tired of moving. I hated packing up my things, renting a truck, moving my things, then unpacking my things. It felt like such wasted effort.

However, in my numerous moves, I did establish a great way to come up with a total cost-of-housing metric that helped me compare various housing options.


Many of these are relatively unknown.

By Karen Datko Oct 9, 2009 1:47AM

This post comes from Greg Go at partner blog Wise Bread.

These 10 Web sites help you save or make money in innovative ways, yet they are relatively unknown. We learned of these guys while doing research for the Wise Bread book. (You've got your copy, right?) Enjoy the list, and share with your friends. Don't forget to chime in with more money-saving sites in the comments.


Big eaters share their tips.

By Karen Datko Oct 9, 2009 1:25AM

You've probably heard about the two big guys in Houma, La., who were charged extra at an all-you-can-eat buffet -- the waitress supposedly said, "Ya'll fat, and ya'll eat too much" -- and claimed they were banned from the place as well. Well, those guys couldn't hold a candle to Nick at Punny Money.

We thank Clever Dude for directing us to Nick's side-splitting, belt-busting post, "Eat your money's worth at any all-you-can-eat buffet." Clever Dude also provides a link to getting the most from a side salad when Pizza Hut limits you to one bowl.


Online historians chronicle shopping wastelands.

By Karen Datko Oct 8, 2009 7:03PM

Has the mall of your teens died a slow death by neglect or succumbed to sudden trauma inflicted when vehicle traffic patterns were changed? If so, chances are you can find its eulogy at

Or maybe the current economy is driving it into the ground. With so many mall-based chains flocking into Bankruptcy Court and their hosts in serious need of life support, the mall historians at are chronicling a very bleak period in retail. is an entertaining but sobering site. We decided to see how malls we visited as a teen are faring.


Why not pay for what you actually use?

By Karen Datko Oct 8, 2009 6:43PM

Would you order a six-course meal if you planned to eat only the salad and dessert? No. You'd order a la carte.

Apply the same concept to the subscriptions you pay for, suggests Ramit Sethi at I Will Teach You To Be Rich. That includes services like cable, TiVo, cell phones and that underused gym membership. Ramit writes: "In fact, in one remarkable study of three health clubs, two researchers from Stanford and Berkeley showed that gym members overestimate how much they'll use their gym membership by over 70%." 

You can pay as you go for workout sessions, TV programs and songs (from iTunes), and other services you now buy in bulk. And may we suggest a prepaid cell phone?


Even small amounts can go a long way.

By Karen Datko Oct 8, 2009 6:35PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

Generating multiple streams of income can have a major impact on your finances. Even an extra income of $500 each month could go a long way to paying down debt or increasing your investments.

We often hear about the importance of diversifying our investments, but diversifying our income streams is just as important, particularly in difficult economic times. Let me show you just how valuable even an extra $500 per month can be. Then I'll list the factors to consider in deciding how to generate extra income, followed by 10 multiple-income-stream ideas.



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