I recently finished reading Everyday Cheapskate's Greatest Tips: 500 Simple Strategies for Smart Living (2005). The book's cover boasts that it is "bringing dignity to the art of living below your means." Mary Hunt, the author of this book, is the syndicated columnist of Everyday Cheapskate and publisher of The Cheapskate Monthly newsletter. You can visit her online here. Now that I have finished reading the book and recording some new ideas to try, I'll be listing the book on paperbackswap, where I'll be able to get a new-to-me book in exchange for mailing this one to someone else!
Here are seven of my favorite tips from the book:
1. CAR CLEAN-UP
Place an old bath towel, bath mat, pillowcase, or table cloth under your baby's car seat. Now when your precious little one tosses food or a bottle onto the seat, the spread will protect the upholstery. Just throw it into the laundry for a quick and easy cleanup.
2. FREECYCLE IT
There is a web site where you can recycle your clutter. Freecycle is giving away your clutter to someone else who wants it. Freecycle Yahoo Groups have sprung up all around the world. If there isn't one in your local area, you can start a group. It's easy. If you've got something to give away, you post it on your local Freecycle board. If a member wants it, he or she contacts you and the two of you make arrangements for pickup. Find out more about freecycling at www.freecycle.org. [Read about my Freecycle experiences here]
3. GET ORGANIZED
With the relatively low cost of computers, scanners, and CD burners, you can take personal record maintenance to a new level. Scan your personal documents into the computer as jpeg files [personally, I like to scan them as .pdf files]. Then burn two copies onto CDs. Keep one at home and the other as a back-up in a safe or deposit box. You can also do this for tax return documentation. You will save on space and also gain peace of mind from the knowledge that all of your important papers are safe and "filed" neatly.
4. JUST WHITES
Fine hotels everywhere feature all white linens. You should, too. When everything is white, you don't worry about fading, about matching up sets or if the linens match the room's decor. Every top sheet goes with every fitted sheet, so you don't have laundry hassles. Everything launders the same. White linens are classic and they're cheaper, too.
5. CHEAP CLIPS
Need a cheap but effective way to clamp shut your chip bags, etc.? Buy bags of clothespins at the dollar store. They make great chip clips!
6. INSIDE OUT
Wash your clothes inside out to keep them looking newer longer. The inside takes all of the abuse and fading cause by the agitation instead of the outside. Clothes get just as clean when washed inside out.
7. THE LAW
To keep your possessions from overtaking your life and your space, declare a new personal dictum: For every new thing that comes in, something old must go out. You must obey The Law. It'll work. In fact there will be times that you'll really want to bring home something new, but the thought of getting rid of something of equal size or value will help you distinguish between a true need and a passing desire.
What are some of your favorite time/money savers?