What is Dumpster Diving?

Dumpster diving is the activity of salvaging food, materials, or other items from designated garbage receptacles prior to their being disposed of by a trash collection service.

  1. Dumpster Diving is not theft or stealing. In a 1988 Supreme court ruling, California vs. Greenwood, when a person throws something out with the intention of it being garbage, the item becomes part of the public domain, having “no reasonable expectation of privacy.”
  2. The activity of Dumpster Diving can actually be very sanitary.
  3. You can and probably will find items in near perfect and working order that have been discarded by others.
  4. Dumpster Diving is not limited to the poor or desperate as some might believe.

 

Why Do People Dumpster Dive?

Each individual decides that for themselves, however here are a few reasons why people dive:

  1. Freegan: “Freeganism is a lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources.” (taken from subreddit)
  2. Anti-Consumption/Anti-Consumerism: “Anti-Consumption is socio-political ideology opposed to consumerism which discourages … purchasing and consumption of material possessions … concern[ed] over modern corporations or organizations that pursue … economic goals the expense of environmental, social, or ethical concerns…” (taken from Wikipedia)
  3. Food Not Bombs: “A community [of] free distribution of surplus food (Vegan or Vegetarian) that would otherwise go to waste.” (taken from subreddit)
  4. Opportunity: Others may simply be in the right place at the right time and ask or take something that someone else was going to throw that they could use or want.
  5. Profit: Let’s be honest, people throw out working consumer goods that are in perfect working order what simply may have become outdated. There are those who are willing to dive and sell.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of reasons to Dumpster Dive ranging from social, political, activist and personal use.

 

How to Remain Safe While Dumpster Diving

Safety is a priority when dumpster diving. Some of the major concerns that most divers relate are: sharp or dangerous objects in or around the dumpster, contaminates on retrieved items or in the dumpster, and possible engagements from non-divers. To stay safe as a diver you can follow a simple set of guidelines that will help protect you from unintended consequences; by staying alert to your surroundings, moving slowly, and using common sense you can enjoy this exciting and engaging activity.

 

Apparel for Dumpster Diving

Most divers agree that proper clothing is paramount especially if you enter dumpsters. Long sleeve shirts and pants are essential for protecting yourself from objects in or around the dumpster area. Some divers choose to wear old sneakers when entering the dumpster while others choose to wear boots like steel-toed or combat boots for additional protection from items in the dumpster. What you wear is likely to be determined from the type of items you dive for, how you dive for it, and whether you enter a dumpster or not. A short-sleeved shirt and shorts might be sufficient for curb-diving for example but heavy boots and thick jeans with work gloves would be best for construction debris dumpsters to protect from nails and other items. Gloves are an important consideration; some divers choose to wear disposable gloves to protect their hands from contaminates (food divers especially) while some wear leather or cloth work gloves, again mostly depending on the type of items and the condition of the dumpsters you frequent.

 

Equipment for Dumpster Diving

The flashlight is the tool of the trade more than any other. A bright, LED flashlight is the most common flashlight among divers. Head-mounted, palm-sized, or traditional-shaped are all matters of personal preference to the diver. Office supply stores or online typically have the least-expensive LED flashlights of good quality, but investing in a decent flashlight can benefit you more than any other piece of equipment. Astronomy flashlights tend to have a red-light option in addition to white because the red-light does not inhibit night vision as much as the white light which may be a consideration if you are in low-light areas or not desirous of attracting attention.
Some divers prefer to dive with an extended clamp or diving-hook (a metal hook at the end of long pole). These tools are excellent for getting things from dumpsters without entering.
Having a small pocket knife or multi-tool is also common sight among divers, especially those who dive for specialized content requiring disassembly or inspection. A knife can cut through a bag more quickly and quietly than tearing at and fumbling with a tied-off bag.
At the end of a long night diving, be sure to sanitize and clean everything you were wearing as well as yourself. You can keep a bottle of hand sanitizer available if you get into something nasty.

 

Dumpster Diving Techniques

Stay Alert. Move cautiously slow. There is a lot to pay attention to when diving:

  1. Before approaching the dumpster, inspect the surroundings for people (suspicious or otherwise).
  2. Before approaching the dumpster, check for cameras or other security systems that can identify you or make your presence known.
  3. Before approaching the dumpster, check for “No Trespassing” signage or other indications that the property owner does not want you to enter their property. Respect this always.
  4. Be alert to items around the dumpster area that present a hazard to you or those around you. If diving with others, alert them as well.
  5. Be alert to items in the dumpster that can cause you or others harm. You do not know all that is inside even when you enter.
  6. Before you leave the dumpster area, inspect the surroundings again to see if the situation around has changed.

 

Getting Caught Wile Dumpster Diving

If someone sees you, they might stare at you, but most will never engage. If police or security guards catch you in the act, remember the cover story (“I was looking for cardboard boxes because I am moving”). When engaging with police or security guards be polite and courteous; doing the opposite will arouse suspicion and make you look like a punk. Know possible laws pertaining to dumpster diving beforehand in your local area so that you can reference them if the police officers attempt to take you for a ride if your cover story doesn’t work; if you entered an area that was restricted or posted no trespassing, you might have to go downtown.

 

Best Places to Dumpster Dive

Research, patience and luck. There are many factors that contribute to finding good dumpsters, but these are the core elements that can assist you in finding good dumpsters to dive in.

  • Locate – Prior to driving around and hunting for a good spot, try go online and looking at a map satellite view of the locations your are interested in. Doing this initial research will help you identify areas that will help you find good spots faster.
  • Investigate – Also known as casing. Stake the place out, there are a couple of things you might want to look out for:
    • How late do employees stay after closing?
    • What day of the week is trash pickup on? (Note: Case the place once per day for a week. When the dumpster is empty, you know the pickup is on that day.)
    • Is there public or private security?
    • Is there a security system in place to deter/prevent unauthorized access?
    • Is there any other dumpster diver already hitting the dumpster?
  • Find – Look in the dumpster to see what you can find.
  • Track – A diving log or journal is very helpful in marking locations and making notes about what locations you hit, when you hit them, and what you found.

Set your expectations now: don’t get upset if you didn’t find what you were looking for on the first dive. You are most likely going to have to dive at a location multiple times before you find something useful or what you are looking for. The real secret to dumpster diving isn’t about finding the best location; it’s aboutcreating opportunities for finding something. If you keep diving at a location, you’re statistically creating more opportunities for finding treasures. Another pro-tip: don’t have you heart set out to find any single item (e.g. if you are hitting Verizon dumpster for the latest iPhone, you’re gonna have a bad time). Go with the intention of finding useful things.

 

Dumpster Diving Luck

Let’s be honest here; you are not going to find it unless someone throws it out. Do your research, have patience, and with a little luck what you want will get thrown out. Remember: dumpster divers are masters of opportunity.

Saving Money Using Incognito Mode in Web Browser

Let’s all be honest here, incognito mode is known to be ‘porn’ mode. But there are other very useful purposes for it. A few I know off hand is if you are on a friends computer or on a Mac at the apple store, open up incognito to do your facebooking or tweeting. Also you can check your email among other sites that require a login. This way, when you close the browser, it’s as if you were never there.

Popular belief (or fact) is that airlines charge you more if they see you browsing flights before you actually book one. Open up incognito mode if you want to browse flights and you’ll be smooth sailing, …errr or flying.

Incognito is a feature for the Google Chrome Browser. Almost every (if not every) browser has this feature but it is called other names. Firefox has inPrivate Browsing, IE has Private Browsing, etc.

 

List of Uses for Incognito mode:

  • First and foremost, porn
  • Log into a second website (second login for reddit, gmail, gf’s facebook, etc.)
  • View facebook and other social media on public computers (Read the blurb at the bottom)
  • View email on public computer (Samsies as above)
  • Quick logout when you exit the browser. Useful for banks, emails, facebook, etc.
  • Check airline prices (without computer saving your cookies thus jacking up airline costs (yes this is true, there is multiple articles around reddit that talks on this subject including LPTs and AMAs to name a few))
  • Disabling Extensions on the fly for sites that don’t cooperate (News for example)
  • News sites like after you hit the article limit on NY times, the paywall on the Daily Telegraph, Hacker News has a anti-procrastination time delay
  • If you want an unbiased google search result (google tailors based on previous searches)
  • Online shopping for SO or friend that uses the computer so they can’t see what you got them
  • Double printing coupons. (Some sites monitor if you have been there)
  • Use it on a friends laptop to keep the out of your history
  • See how your facebook looks to the public
  • View LinkedIn profiles without people knowing you visited them
  • Private browsing in general

How to Leave Your Cell Phone Contract

This is the guide for people on a cellphone contract and wanting to get off. Here, you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to switch carriers, keep your number, and maybe even keep your device! All in plain English. Isn’t that great?

Why get contractless cell phone?

  • Choice. Normally, you get 3 or 4 carriers to choose from. But the prepaid market is fiercely competitive with close to one hundred different carriers! That’s a lot to choose from!
  • Freedom. No 2-year commitments here. You can leave a prepaid carrier at any time with no termination fees!
  • Price. With a wide-open, competitive market, prepaid gets you the same service at a better price. It’s just that simple.

Please note that these steps only apply if you are out of your contract and going month-to-month. Leaving your contract before your 2 years are up will incur an early termination fee. It is usually best to avoid an early termination fee when switching cell phone companies

 

Step 1: GSM or CDMA cell phone carrier?

NOTE: You can skip to Step 2 if you don’t want to keep your phone.

If you want to keep your phone, you’ll need to determine what type of service it gets. There’s two types: GSM and CDMA. Carriers mostly use one or the other — rarely both. Here’s what the major carriers use:

Service TypeCarrier(s)
GSMT-Mobile, AT&T
CDMASprint, Verizon

You can almost always take a GSM phone to a GSM carrier. Most times you can take a CDMA phone to a CDMA carrier. However, you can never take a GSM phone to a CDMA carrier or vice versa. The technologies are not interchangeable.

Note: Never forget to research your phone’s specs. Even if a GSM phone is going to a GSM carrier, it may not operate on the necessary frequency bands. Googling the model number should give you this information.

 

Step 2: Get your account number.

Note: if you don’t want to keep your phone number, you can skip to step 3.

While you are still with your old carrier (do NOT cancel your service yet!), call the customer service line and ask for your wireless account number. Sometimes an account number may be found on your bill, but it’s not always accurate.

Write down the account number. Your new carrier will need this to keep your number.

Again, don’t cancel your service just yet! Later, it’ll be cancelled automatically when you transfer the number.

 

Step 3: Check your cell phone coverage.

If you’re happy with your current carrier’s coverage, go for a reseller of that carrier. It’s usually comparable coverage and much cheaper.

 

Step 4: Pick your carrier.

Here’s huge lists of them listed by major networks. There are a lot of smartphone options beyond the big four carriers in the US. If you’re looking to save money, these lesser-known plans might be the ticket.

  • Sprint Resellers
  • Verizon Prepaid and Resellers
  • AT&T GoPhone, T-Mobile Prepaid, and Resellers

BONUS: Feeling adventurous? Try out a “hybrid” network! (splits your cell service between wifi and cellular). These are experimental, but cheap (as low as $20 a month). It could work for you!

 

Step 5: Pick your device.

If you can keep your current phone, great! Generally, you’ll need a SIM card if it’s a GSM phone, or the IMEI number if it’s a CDMA phone.

Otherwise, you’ll notice that your devices are much more expensive up-front than on-contract. That’s because prepaid carriers don’t roll the cost of the phone into your bills — you pay in full up-front. But that’s okay, you’ll still be saving money.

If you are buying a device off Amazon or another place online, get one that has a clean ESN. This means the device is legit — not reported lost or stolen.

Phones which have been lost or stolen have bad ESNs. Their IMEI numbers have been marked as unusable in the carriers’ systems and cannot be re-activated. Obviously, avoid these.

 

Step 6: Place your order.

This is when your new carrier will ask for your account number. Provide it along with any other relevant information from your old account. Order any equipment, SIM cards, accessories you need and play the waiting game. Alternatively, you can buy these items at retail.

 

Step 7: Be free!

Once the goods arrive, activate your stuff and you’re set to go! Enjoy your freedom :3

How to Save Money in the Winter and Cheaply Winterizing Your House

What to do to properly winterize your house in the winter:

  • Watch out for humidity in cold weather.. Far better to use a heater than boil water for that reason.. Humidity will condense on cold outer walls and cause mold, which will potentially cause health problems. I would instead of using a shower to heat, I would suggest using a shower fan (which should always exhaust OUTSIDE the house, not into the attic) and also cracking open a window to provide make up air..
  • If you want ventilation year round while saving energy one of te best things you can get is called a heat recovery ventilator.. They will let you ventilate in the winter without losing a lot of heat..
  • Now when its winter and the humidity is 20% (really, really low) and the air in your house is bone dry, sure, add some humidity.. But more often than not its not that cold and dry and also people often tend to overdo things.. Some of the suggestions are a recipe for problems..
  • Exhausting a gas dryer indoors could be very dangerous of course because of oxygen depletion/carbon monoxide poisoning.. But even with an electric dryer (unless that attachment is in reality a heat exchanger.. ) sounds like bad bad advice if somebody does not heat enough.. (likely if they are extremely frugal) Because it WILL cause mold..
  • To conserve heat, I would suggest taking baths instead of showers and then letting the tub stay full as a radiator..
  • Mold can make people really, really sick. Humidity+paper coated gypsum wallboard (or even dust) as in inside walls) will grow mold.. and the more humid, the worse for your health that mold is likely to be.. there is a direct nonlinear (exponential) relationship between the two..
  • A heat recovery ventilator is good for ventilating without using too much heat… Which is essential in keeping humidity below the dew point (and the level where mold starts growing around 65% RH)

Ideas to save money in Winter Weather:

  • Wear warm clothes – socks, pj pants, a thick sweater. Anything to keep the warmth in. Sometimes either fingerless gloves when at the computer.
  • Keep the blinds open on those south facing windows starting in the morning. Close them at night. Our south-facing room gets the most sunlight and is almost always way warmer than the rest of the apartment.
  • If the air is cold and dry, you can quickly warm up a room by using a humidifier or simply boiling a pot of water. Humidity seems to hold heat better than dry air does and it makes a huge difference. I like to boil a pot of water with a splash of artificial vanilla (the kind you use in cookies) and a pinch of cinnamon to make the house smell good. In the past I’ve used apple peels after making pie or orange peels. It’s easy and smells good.
  • Candles put off a tiny bit of heat! I love candles and they are pretty cheap. Dont get the cheap cheap kind, because they don’t last long. Get the mid-to-low priced ones. They usually smell good and last a few days total. DONT LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED! Things can overheat or pets can get into them! My friend has a long hair cat that loves to rub up against the candles, he’s always getting singed!
  • Drink tea/coffee all day long! Lots of extra water is good for you and the warm drink defrosts you from the inside.
  • During a few freezing cold weeks when our landlord couldn’t seem to keep the heat working, I would bundle up in warm clothes and blankets, with a heating pad on my shoulders, my laptop on my lap and a cup of tea nearby.
  • We have blankets in every single room of the house! I’ve usually got a throw draped over me while playing games, reading, doing homework, etc. Sometimes I’ll put a blanket on my lap with a pillow on top of that to keep all of my heat on me.
  • Our electric dryer has an attachment that can be used to redirect the heat back into the apartment instead of outside. It cost a few bucks and works really well for getting some extra heat and moisture in that part of the apartment.
  • Shower! When taking a shower, we leave the bathroom door open. Once again, the steam travels into the rest of the house and spreads the humidity we need.
  • Baking/cooking at home. This one is a no brainer and can save you money in the long run.
  • I haven’t done this, but those little draft socks for the bottom of doors and windows can probably save some energy. Also, covering and/or sealing windows and doors can probably make a huge difference. This is on my to-do list.
  • We have a lot of pets, so we have to keep the whole place moderately warm, instead of heating just ourselves. If you don’t then you can keep your heat as low as 55 or 60 and keep a warm water bottle/heating/pad/blanket/scarf/think socks/mittens with you at all times.
  • Have people over! Having lots of warm bodies around gets the place super warm!

Building a Cheap Emergency Survival Kit

What should you use to build a cheap emergency survival kit? First, prepare an emergency budget! In the case you are struck by something and can’t pay to fix it, have an emergency budget planned out that will cut out as many expenses as necessary, and also have extra income options. For example, renting out an extra room in your house, picking up a part time job, etc.

 

Considerations when building a budget survival kit

  • Assume the water and gas are going to go out as well. They most likely won’t, but if they do and you haven’t planned for it you’ll be sorry.
  • Clean the tub and fill it up. This is your cooking and toilet flushing water. Drink it only in an emergency. Also good for wetting clothing to stay cool.
  • Fill the freezer up with gallons of water. Fill up your kitchen too. 1 per person per day AT LEAST. What do you need for a week? Get twice that amount.
  • Get a camp stove, if you can afford it.
  • Get a cooler and and ice. Keeping a small space chilly is easier than keeping your whole fridge chilly. Your fridge and freezer WILL NOT stay chilly. Unless you have a chest freezer outside in 30 degree weather, give up on your freezer.
  • Figure out where ice can be bought post-storm – if the army will be setting up in your neighborhood, if your corner store has a generator, etc.
  • Clean out the freezer and get ready to cook all your frozen meat NOW. With no power, even full of ice blocks, a normal freezer will only keep your food cold for 2 days. Say goodbye to perishable goods you can’t fit in your cooler, and say goodbye to those when the ice runs out.
  • On this tip, buy charcoal or kerosene for your grill. The first day without power is Grill All The Meat day! Do it on your front stoop and the whole neighborhood will bring their perishables too. It’s a meat spoilage block party!
  • Hurricane food doesn’t have to suck. Hard cured meats and many cheeses don’t require refrigeration. Produce will go bad in the heat – canned is better here. Smoked oysters and sardines are my favorite hurricane food. Cooked pasta and rice can live in your cooler for a few days and be mixed with canned stuff and pantry items for different cold salads. Almost all our nonperishables were on 10 for $10 sales or cheaper. What do you think you need for a week? Get twice that amount.
  • Buy food items with minimal waste/packaging. It took almost 2 weeks after Isaac for trash pickup to resume and my block STANK.
  • Get a solar charger or crank charger for your phone, or a car charger if you’ve got a car.
  • Get gas. All the stations will run out!
  • Get a weather radio. This will be your only contact with the world outside your neighborhood when you realize that your phone you planned so carefully to charge has no signal.
  • Buy or borrow some good books. Having no power in a city with no working infrastructure for a week is BORING, besides being uncomfortable. Find that deck of cards or scrabble set. Reconnect with loved ones by candlelight (watch out for the mosquitos.)
  • Don’t forget bug spray, especially for children and babies!

Other Considerations when Preparing for an Emergency on a Budget

  • Shelter – Would your home or a meet up point be of sound structure after a hurricane, tsunami, forest fire or earthquake? Having tents on hand ($20 at some stores or off season) are good if your home is a danger or if you have to travel. Even a simple $12-$20 tarp will do in a hard core emergency (but you’ll most likely need fire depending).

The trick if your home is still livable and its cold outside is to wear layers (hats and scarfs included), hole up in one room and shut all the doors in the rest of the house. Cover up drafts in doors with a towel.

The cheapo insulation trick for windows is a spray bottle a few rolls of bubble wrap. Get the glass wet and put up the wrap. If you have crappy windows, you don’t have to wait for an emergency to do this.

  • Heat/Fire – If the lights go out how will you keep yourself warm if need be or cook food or worst case scenario boil water?

Most canned food is already cooked in the can when it’s processed it so you don’t need to heat it up.

Noodles, rice and other grains (oatmeal) do not need to be cooked they can be soaked in liquid for a few hours.

So if you can stand to eat cold food, do it often so as not to waste limited resources.

Having an old tea/water kettle around is going to save you a lot of trouble in an emergency.

Look on Craigslist in Sporting Goods for people selling their camping gear off season. A camp stove new or used can cost anywhere from $20-$40. Small Coleman propane canisters are $3-$5 and last forever. If you really want to be prepped get a $39, 3 gallon propane tank. You can get the tanks at most gas stations.

Other than that at least have a charcoal grill or receptacle that you can burn books, phone books and other types of fuel in.

Have waterproof matches in an emergency kit just in case.

  • Water – Recycle and fill up water jugs or 2 liter soda bottles. You can also buy a 6 to 8 gallon BPA free water container in the camping section at most big box stores for between $10-$20. This can be invaluable if you have to leave and hopefully have access to your car. In an ideal situation each family member should have 2 liters of water a day.

The old saying goes “Never drink from the bowl!” meaning the toilet bowl. But you can drink, cook and wash up with water from the upper toilet tank.

  • Food – A guideline is that each family member should have at least 10 cans each of meat/fish, veggie and fruit.

Next time you go grocery shopping set a budget of an extra $5 to $10 and hit up the bargain bins. Look for boxed food on sale or 10 for $10 (or less) in the canned food isle.

Spend an extra 10 minutes at the store and compare prices for sale items. An example is, in my area, the basic price for Progresso soup is around $2.50 a can. My neighborhood Target recently upgraded their store with a grocery section and Progresso is $1.10!

So keep an eye out for bargains on non perishables. There doesn’t have to be an emergency to stock up on food. If you or a family member loses their job or has a medical emergency, or money gets tight you’ll have food on hand and not have to worry.

Summer and Winter Home Energy Saving Tips

EKO_symbol_cmyk

Whether it’s staying cool in the summer, or toasty in the winter; being frugal about our energy usage is a necessity. Saving on energy is something that renters and home owners can both easily do to save money. Oftentimes, many of these energy savings tips will just require you to make small changes to your behavior.

 

Ways to Conserve Energy at Home

Below are several tips on things you can improve around your house to save money on your utility bills by using less electricity and gas. Many of these home energy saving tips will hold true in the summer and the winter.

 

Blackout Curtains Saving Energy

Blackout curtains can trap heat in during the winter and keep light and heat out during the summer. 10-25% of thermal energy loss goes out the windows. Blackout curtains can curtail this loss by a 25%, reducing your utility bills and greenhouse gases. High-end blackout curtains can be expensive, somewhere in the $100+ area. However, you can find blackout curtains for less than twenty dollars at many different stores.. You can buy blackout curtains at almost any major retailer. For example, Walmart sells the Eclipse brand that was mentioned earlier. Some companies make their blackout curtains with vinyl, a material that has health risks associated with it. There are plenty of non-vinyl curtains to choose from, so be sure to avoid PVC in your blackout curtains.

 

Clean Your Air Conditioner

Dirty air conditioners could be wasting lots of energy. Cleaning your air conditioner is one easy way to save some electricity in the summer. First, put a nozzle on your water hose and spray it into the vents that are on the side of the outside unit. Dirt builds up and lowers the efficiency significantly of the air conditioner. You might be shocked at how much dirt and dead grass washed out of it. Be careful though while washing your air conditioner to save energy costs – those vents are radiator fins, and you don’t want them to bend. The unit could fry itself or crack if more than 50% of the fins are bent out of place.

There are plug insulators, for the electrical sockets in your house too. Sometimes a breeze can come through them. It iss basically foam that goes around it to seal it in. I would seal up the windows as much as possible too.

 

Using a Pressure Cooker Saves Energy

Using a pressure cooker to cook meals saves lots of energy considering how efficient they are at cooking. A pressure cooker cooks food in 70% less time than non-pressurized methods which translated to 70% less energy used. Countries with spotty power systems have a long history of using pressure cookers because of their energy efficiency.

Modern versions are so efficient that they lose very little liquid through steam. This means you don’t have to have to add a ton of water before cooking. That means you don’t end up with soggy, water logged foods. It also means your water soluble vitamins are retained more.

You can use a pressure cooker to make all sorts of food that requires a moist cooking environment. Soups, stews, pot roast, corned beef, potatoes, steamed vegetables etc. It is also perfect for egg dishes that need a water bath to insulate them. This means cheesecake, custards like creme brulee are perfect in the pressure cooker.

 

Canning Foods is an Energy Saving Tip

It is nice to have shelf stable foods without having to store them in a freezer or worry about defrosting. I know many freezers are very energy efficient, but you always run the risk of losing all your food due to power outage. You also have to worry about defrosting your food. It’s not hard of course but requires deciding ahead of time what you want to eat. You then have to remember to put the food in the fridge the night before. Otherwise you are using energy to store the food and to defrost it and to cook it.

 

Water Heater Blanket

Energy_HierarchyGet a water heater blanket. These are basically a big blanket of insulation (usually fiberglass and mylar IIRC?) you wrap around a water heater’s tank to increase the insulation value. They are under $20 (you’ll probably need the dimensions of your water heater) at major home improvements stores. A water heater blanket takes 10 minutes to install, and will save up to 10% on your water heating costs. Also insulate the hot water pipes if they are not already insulated within your residence.

Heating water is about 20% of most homes energy usage. A $20 R-8 blanket, some new pipe insulation, and turning the water heater thermostat from 140 to 120 might save about $30 on a monthly gas bill. If your heater is electric, you can also insulate the top and bottom to improve the efficiency (don’t do this on a gas heater, huge fire hazard), but it will still be less efficient than a gas water heater.

While you’re dialing back the temperature a bit on the hot water tank, the effective water temperature at the shower could stay the same (or even be hotter than before) due to less heat loss while going through the pipes. Dialing back the hot water temp a few degrees: less heating to try and keep the volume of water in the tank at a higher temp.

 

Instead of a Refrigerator, Use a Freezer…

Instead of a refrigerator, use a chest freezer with a Johnson Controls freezer temperature controller, which overrides the internal thermostat and allows me to keep it at refrigerator temperatures. Freezers are much better insulated, and it also helps that they open from the top. In some circumstances, a chest fridge uses about 0.25 kwh/day in winter, and about 0.45 in summer. To keep stuff organized, make sure you get one with a lot of baskets!

Plant Shade Trees

Planting large deciduous shade trees around the south & west sides of the house could keep some heat off your home during a hot summer day. In the summer they have leaves, so keep the area cooler. In winter they shed their leaves so more sun can get through to keep things warmer. Trees can also be used in colder climates as a wind-break.

You can make this part of a strategy for shade trees. Quick growers tend to be short-lived, but they can provide a stop-gap for slower-growing, longer lived trees you plant around the same time. By the time the quick-growers are ready to come down, the long-lasters are reaching sufficient size to take over shading duties. Evergreen trees to the north and west can help block chilling winter winds, too.

 

Big Energy Saving Tips: Set Your Thermostat Correctly to Save Money

An easy way to save money on your power bill is setting your thermostat correctly. You might even want to use a smart thermostat such as a Nest. Your local utility company should have recommendations on energy-saving settings. Using a programmable thermostat to raise the cooling set point when you’re out of the house and lowering it when you’re home also helps a lot.

Also, do not set the temperature really low when you’re hot. I see so many people set the temperature in frustration to 60 when they’re hot. Truth is, this will cost you a lot more money in the long run and will not cool any faster. It will just have to work a lot longer before it can maintain. Beyond that, absolutely check for leaks, especially around windows, recessed can lights, doors, crown molding, etc. Check your attic and/or crawlspace for insulation. If there are any significant gaps (more than 1% of the surface area of the insulated ceiling or floor) then you might as well not have insulation.

Use Rechargeable Batteries When Possible

Rechargeable batteries can save you a deal of money and they’re better environment. They may cost 4x more, but they can be recharged ~1500 times. For anyone interested in rechargeable batteries, the Sanyo Eneloop batteries with the Sony Cycle Energy BCG34HRE4KN recharger are recommended. Most rechargeable batteries are notorious for slow drain even when they aren’t being used. These Eneloop batteries hold charge very well as time goes on. The charger is at a good price/performance point. It doesn’t stress the batteries with a quick charge, and it has a refresh function which can bring old life back into the batteries. There are nicer chargers out there, but they can get pretty pricey.

Use a Wooden Fireplace to Save Money

If you are lucky enough to have a wooden fireplace. Use it! Light up when you get home from work, dry socks and underwear next to it instead of tumble drying them. I know that for those rural folk amongst us it isn’t hard to get hold of a trailer load of wood from the local farmer or landowner. Many would be glad to get rid of some of their excess. Instead of a family sitting in separate rooms. Sit together in a room instead of heating lots of other rooms.

 

Unplug Electronics You are Not Using

Unplug everything you don’t use. Use switches for your TV cabinet and everything within it. Under certain circumstances, you might find that some appliances using 10 Watts when ‘off’ (not even standby). Also, find your switchboard and look for the circuit breakers that are for your fridge/freezer/alarm and mark them. Next time you go out of the house for a somewhat longer period, just switch off all the rest.

Lights off all power off when you leave (your router, computer, et cetera completely off and/or unplugged). Only use the electricity at off peak hours?

 

Solar Thermal Water Heating

Solar Thermal Water Heating. If you know how to work copper tubing, this is easy enough… black ABS in a clear enclosure on the roof (like solar panels, kinda), run a pipe w/ a bypass valve to the hot water heater. BAM. Free hot water. Only works well during the summer, unless you’re crafty enough to program an Arduino or something to open and close a valve based on outdoor air temp…

Tips to Save Energy for Renters

tips-to-save-energy

Whether you’re finally escaping the parents’ abode or moving into your third rental home, you’re undoubtedly keen to find some ways to reduce the hefty load of daily living expenses.

 

Best ways renters can lower energy bill

Your energy usage in your apartment is a natural place to start. But it isn’t so easy to reduce those energy bills if you can’t make any structural changes to your home. Renters face unique circumstances when trying to save energy when renting a home or renting an apartment. Its not easy to make energy efficient changes when you do not own the place! Below are some energy saving tips for apartments for people who rent them.

 

Learn Apartment Energy Savings Tips

While added insulation and solar panels are an obvious way to go to reduce the costs of your energy usage, it’s not the only way, by any means. There are plenty of energy saving tips renters can work on to reduce their bills. It’s all about changing your habits rather than your house. This is what renters need to focus on when trying to save energy costs since they often cannot physically change where they are living.

Here are some hassle-free ways to cull your energy usage when renting – and in the process, see a happy decline in those quarterly utilities bills that you are also paying as a renter.

 

Compare energy suppliers before you commit

Today we couldn’t fathom living without electricity or gas. But in many parts of the world at least, there are a huge range of gas and electricity suppliers to choose from. So it’s natural you might not be getting the best deal you could have. It can be tiresome toiling through every single energy supplier in your area to work out their plans and decide on the best one for your needs. But it can also be well worth it. Having options to pick who supplies your energy as a renter can be a sure way to make sure that you are getting the lowest rates.

Thankfully, there are useful tools online that compile all the relevant companies into one place so you don’t need to do the hard work. Whether you’re just curious or ready for a switch, you need only type in your postcode to see the full range of plans and options out there for you – and to learn what you may have been missing out on in the meantime. However, this is not available in all markets. In many cities, there is one big utility company who controls the market and you will have to buy electricity or gas through them.

It makes sense to shop around for an energy provider. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a cheap/free energy audit through your utility company at your apartment/house. It is definitely worthwhile to check out the gas, electric, and water companies’ web sites to see if this benefit is available in your area. As an added bonus, very often, the energy company auditors will give you things like free CFL light bulbs, weather-stripping, efficient shower heads or faucet aerators, etc. as part of the energy audit.

In addition, they may pass out some coupons after the energy audit. You may also have access to discounts on things like light bulbs. For example, coupons for a bunch of LED and CFL bulbs and lamps through my utility’s deal with an online retailer.

 

Obliterate vampire power

It sounds so easy, so why so few people switch their appliances off at the wall eludes me. All the time your devices – the TV, your state-of-the-art stereo system, that second-hand microwave – are plugged in and on standby, they’re draining power. In fact, they could be draining power to the amount of more than $100 each year.

To eliminate appliances/items sucking power, it might be helpful to connect certain devices to a power strip and turn it off every day before you leave for work. Some devices are known as “vampires” because they’re continually sucking power even when turned off. TVs are an example. Though they are off, they are constantly scanning for a signal from the remote. Computers also continually suck power, even when turned off. When you leave for the day, turn your thermostat down into the 60°F range. Of course, if you have pets or other humans that stay at home, that may not be possible

Using a power board is a simple way to turn off all your devices in one go, ensuring you’ll conserve energy and power. If you have access to your electrical meter, turn off all of the circuits in the apartment using the breaker/fuse panel, then verify that the meter is no longer registering any electricity usage. It’s not uncommon for apartments to be miswired such that your neighbor may be using some of your electrical power.

Mobile technology is another energy vampire, only charging your laptops, mobile phones, tablets etc. when the batteries are nearly flat and then taking them off charge when they are done, rather than leaving them on not only increase the battery life but also saves a lot of energy. Really anything with a LED screen or clock that does not need to be on all of the time can be switched off when not in use, it is amazing how quickly you notice it on your energy bills when you start doing it.

In short, to save energy costs as a renter, plug all of your phone chargers, TVs, satellite/cable TV boxes, and other electronic items into a power strip that has an on/off switch. Turn it off when you’re not home and save energy in your apartment!

 

Big Apartment Energy Saving Tips: Change your lights

You might not be able to touch your light fittings as a renter, but you can at least swap over the light bulbs to more energy efficient alternatives. These alternatives are typically LED or CFL globes. This alone is the most important thing in my opinion. It reduces the energy usage of the bulbs by a very large percentage. I would recommend LED. They can get more expensive, but they WILL pay for themselves. Any place you are concerned about heat (as a safety issue) or need directional lighting they are likely better than CFLs. They will likely not save you money

Once you’ve made the switch, you could further reduce your bills by turning off those lights in unoccupied rooms so your building isn’t lit up like a Los Vegas strip.

 

Layer up before you crank the thermostat

Some of those older inner-city rental homes can be nastily cool, especially in the depths of winter. So we understand the temptation to crank the heat and transform your refrigerator into an oven (who doesn’t love the heat?). Heating and cooling because these are the biggest energy suckers. If you have a really old and inefficient system you might qualify for rebate or tax breaks through your electric company or government.

Your heating and A/C are going to use most of the energy so do what you can to retain heat or keep it out (when appropriate). If you’re not going to open the windows for a few months apply some silicon around the edges. It peels off pretty easily for when you need to open them. You can also get some rubber seals to put around the door that aren’t too expensive. Getting a bit crazier you also lose heat around outlets and light switches. There’s special backing to put behind those but that’s not as cost effective. You can just put some regular glue around the edges though. Otherwise try to heat/cool only the rooms that you’re in by using space heaters or fans. Check your blower unit as well for proper sealing

But the next time you go to spin the dial, think about the impact it could have on your next bill. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that heating and cooling systems contribute to more than 40% of your home’s annual energy usage.

We’re used to the convenience of heating and cooling, but there are other ways to control your internal temperature. You can put on a few extra layers of clothing, brew yourself a warm drink, and throw over a rug before you settle into the couch in winter. When you do go to raise the thermostat, keeping it at a lower temperature can add up quickly.

And in summer, if you’re lucky enough to have air con in your rental home, consider first closing the blinds or curtains over the window so your house doesn’t heat up as quickly before you turn on that blessed system.

 

Find out about off-peak pricing

If you’re a student or a natural late-night owl, you’ll be used to staying up late and sleeping in. This could work to your benefit if you want to reduce your energy costs, thanks to many electricity supplier’s cheaper rates in off-peak periods.

A lot of energy retailers have off-peak pricing, offering a cheaper rate during quieter hours (typically between 10pm and 7am). Keep that excessive study on your laptop or procrastinate with your Xbox and sound system between these hours and you could enjoy greater energy savings on your bills.

Find out if your energy company provides this service – or which ones do if you’re interested in changing suppliers – and keep those activities requiring high energy consumption (washing your clothes and dishes, for example) to off-peak times to make the most of these energy savings in an apartment. This can be one of the biggest apartment energy savings tips for renters because it is within their control if they are paying the electric bill.

 

Buy energy efficient appliances

When you’re moving to your new rental home, you’re naturally going to think about buying or upgrading your appliances. These days, most appliances come with an Energy Rating label that shows how energy efficient the appliance is. The more stars your appliance rating has, the less energy your appliance needs to run.

Appliances with a higher energy efficiency rating (typically about 4 stars or more) will probably cost more at the outset, but over time they should prove their worth as you find them cheaper to run than their less efficient alternatives. If there are any appliances in your apartment that need replacing (washer, dishwasher, fridge), encourage your landlord to purchase Energy Star products as replacements – sometimes there is even a rebate available to the purchaser, which may be an incentive for your landlord.

I could go on, but don’t want to overwhelm you. You’ll find plenty of useful resources online to help you reduce your energy usage and lower your electricity and gas bills. But reducing your energy bills ultimately comes down to you and your proactive, mindful approach to your own energy usage.

 

Double Check Windows, Heating, and A/C to Save Money

Your heating and A/C are going to use most of the energy so do what you can to retain heat or keep it out (when appropriate). If you’re not going to open the windows for a few months apply some silicon around the edges. It peels off pretty easily for when you need to open them. You can also get some rubber seals to put around the door that aren’t too expensive. Getting a bit crazier you also lose heat around outlets and light switches. There’s special backing to put behind those but that’s not as cost effective. You can just put some regular glue around the edges though. Otherwise try to heat/cool only the rooms that you’re in by using space heaters or fans. Check your blower unit as well for proper sealing. My unit in my old apartment had so much air leaking it was amazing I could even feel it coming from the vents.

How to Save Money on Your Next Tattoo

How to Save Money on your Next Tattoo

Tattoos, especially terrific ones, are pricey (depending on how complicated the tattoo is). If you don’t have the financial muscle to have some terrific ink, don’t worry. There are prudent ways to save money on your next tattoo other than haggling with the artist over their prices. Remember, saving money on a tattoo does not need to involve haggling.

 

How to Save Money on Your Next Tattoo

The price of a tattoo can be very different and depends on so many factors. For example, factors that affect tattoo price include the size, design, and placement of a tattoo all play a role in the final number. Most tattoo parlors can give you a tattoo price estimate based on what you’re looking for. You can plan, research cheaper artists around your area, and save up for some high quality work. Or you can get a tattoo for what you pay for.

 

How much are tattoos?

For many, tattoos are art. If they’re done well, then they’re probably worth the cost to the wearer — just like any fine art, cost correlates with the quality and size of the piece, and also the expertise and renown of the artist. The cheaper you go with a tattoo, riskier to your health and uglier your tattoo gets. And why would you want something that will be with you always to be ugly, or to give you rashes and diseases? To save 80 bucks? Your probably better off just waiting and saving the money for something better. Otherwise you’ll end up spending more either with potential health stuff, or at best just getting it covered up with another tattoo later.

 

Try Tattoo Coupons to be Saving Money on a Tattoo

You can save a buck or two on your next tattoo by looking out for tattoo coupons. Coupons for tattoos can save you a few dollars. However, it will depend on if your local tattoo parlor has any specials. You can simply do a Google search of “tattoo coupons” plus the name of your city to find out. That way, you may, fortunately, get some specials. You never know.

 

Master the Art of Timing When Getting a Tattoo to Save Money

Sadly, with a tattoo coupon you cannot choose a size of the tattoo you want or the artist you like. Why? Coupons are held to whatever the parameters of the deal are. Mastering the art of timing can save you money, too. Scores of people are unaware that there is always a slow season for tattoo artists. Winter months are the said “slow seasons” for them.

Take full advantage while the season lasts. This is the perfect time to get some serious ink that you’ve always wanted. See that tattoo artist who offers high-priced services down the block, strike a bargain with them. Or better yet, scout about on Facebook some of the best tattoo artists and add them as your friend and watch out for offers during the said slow seasons. Get some ideas on what kind of tattoo you want online before heading to a tattoo parlor.

 

Adjust Your Schedule to The Tattoo Artists Schedule

Some artists will lower their hourly rate if you schedule longer individual sessions. ie: The hourly rate for an 8 hour session is normally cheaper than a 4 hour session with a lot of artists. Also, if you can commit to multiple visits some artists will lower their hourly rate even more. This could be one way to saving money on a tattoo.

Trading Always Works

If you don’t have the patience to wait until winter to save on some ink, why not trade a service with your tattooist. You know… barter yourself into a relatively affordable tattoo. Sounds like a good idea, right? It is. For this to work, find out first if the tattooist is in need of a service that you can offer such as web design, mechanic work, etc. Such an arrangement is feasible.

In fact, it is less rude an arrangement than plainly asking for a discount. Out of desperation, you may be tempted to push the issue. Don’t. It’s rude as well. If the tattooist agrees to trade, make sure to have an agreement written down and signed to guarantee you’re both protected if things do not work out.

 

Quid Pro Quo (Something for Something)

Why pay for a tattoo a tattoo artist is offering a huge discount for someone who can offer a large piece of their flesh for some creative art they’ve been yearning to do? Take the chance. It may be worth it for all you know. Give them a large piece of your body for them to put their skills to the test and in turn get a massive discount. It’s a win-win situation. Something for something!

 

Remember, Getting a Tattoo is Art

Any good artist is going to charge $80-120 per hour. The reason even a tiny tattoo is still expensive ($50-100) is that you’re taking up an hour of their time. That is part of their schedule that could be working on a 10 hour piece. Besides that, you’re not just walking into a tattoo shop to be out the door again in 20 minutes. All of the setup and cleanup makes a 15 minute tattoo take at least an hour. No good shop is “overcharging.” You’re paying for art. On your skin. Even more so, you’re paying for human labor and human creativity to put art on your skin. These things are a premium.

 

What is the Price of a Tattoo?

What drives the price of a tattoo is not size, but how long it takes to apply. Even if actually applying the tattoo takes 15 minutes because it’s tiny, you have half an hour of setup and cleanup time involved, as well as shop overhead. You’re going to get charged an hour minimum no matter what tattoo you get. Larger tattoos cost more not because they use more ink, but because they require several hours and multiple visits. The difference between a 4×4 tattoo and an entire backpiece is going to be dramatic, but not so much between something that’s only 1 inch square versus 4 inches.

 

 

Be Ready! Save Money on Tattoo

It’s crazy how many people go to the tattoo shop and stare at a wall in order to “pick” their next tattoo. This can be perceived by the artist or shop owner as someone who’s not sure what they want and will take more time than others to get the job done. Do yourself a favor next time and look for tattoo ideas for men or tattoo ideas for women before you go to the shop. You will have much better bargaining power when you know exactly what you want and can work with the artist to utilize his time in the most economical way possible, so he can continue to run his shop and pick up more business while servicing your needs.

5 Ways You Definitely Won’t Save Money on Clothes

5 Ways you definitely won't save money on clothes

Finding some solid ground in the sea of good (and ‘great’) advice can be a tricky thing. Most people will advise you to do this or that, but if you listen to them all, you’ll get nowhere. Such is the case with saving money on clothes as well – everyone seems to know the best possible way to save money when out shopping for new clothes, but to be honest, not all the things you hear make sense. These are some of the most useless advice given to people on how to save money on clothes.

 

How to Save Money on Clothes
Continue reading

Seven Ways to Save Money This Summer (While Still Having Fun)

Seven Ways to Save Money this Summer

Summer’s finally here and with it comes lots of great activities like beach going, camping, swimming, cookouts, and don’t forget about that heat! With so much to do this summer, it’s easy to relax and forget about how much you’re spending to have fun, but there are many simple ways to save money this summer as you enjoy this wonderful season. Saving money in the summer might even let you have more fun in the summer! Follow money saving tips for summer fun.

Seven Ways to Save Money This Summer
Continue reading

5 Tips for a Budget Friendly College Move In Day

5 Tips for a Budget friendly Move

If you’ve moved away from home to go to college before, then you may have a lot of opinions about living on-campus versus living off, where the cool parts of town are, and who your favorite (& worst) roommates were. Or, you’re at least forming them, depending on what year you are in. Maybe you’ve moved every year, or you’re about to.

During my college career, I moved a total of five times. And, each time was hectic and unplanned. I’ve recruited unwilling friends and borrowed my dad’s truck for multiple trips across town. Truth be told, I’ve hated every minute of it.

Making a College Budget

Since college I’ve moved 3 more times. And, guess what? According to statistics, I’ve got 3.4 more times to go (but I bet I have more). You’ve potentially got a lot more moves to go through as well. And drawing from my experiences, I’ve gathered some budget-friendly tips for college move in day, so your next move can run smoother (aka less stressful).

Go the Hybrid-Move Route.

The cheapest way is to do everything yourself. But let’s face it– it sucks having that responsibility! Finding a vehicle to borrow, recruiting reliable help, and potentially injuring yourself with heavy-lifting is simply not worth the trouble. But, while hiring a full-service company is ideal, the cost is simply unjustifiable. A Hybrid Move combines best of both worlds.

What exactly is hybrid moving? You rent the truck or shipping container, and then separately hire the number of movers you need for the hours you’ll need them. It does require a little more organization up-front, but the money you’ll save is worth it. Plus, you don’t have to think twice about how you’re going to move that cool piano your ex-roommate abandoned.

Sell, Donate & Ditch.

On second thought, maybe you should cash in on that piano. Not only will you make a pretty sum of money, but you’ll have a lighter load to move. Smaller/less stuff will mean a cheaper truck or container to rent, as well as fewer hours of moving labor help to pay for.

Plus, having cash during a potentially-costly time in your life will feel good. Hopefully you’ll stress less over whether or not you’ll get your deposit back, and if it’ll be in time to give to the next landlord.

Moving for a New Job?

If you’re fresh out of college and was just offered the job of your dreams, then congratulations! This is a huge win not only for your career, but potentially for your pocketbook (at least during tax season). Indeed, some moving expenses related to work are tax-deductible, so check into current tax laws to see what applies in your state, and save all your moving-related receipts.

Don’t Buy Boxes– Rather, Find Them!

It may be tempting to pay for moving-specific boxes. But, let’s face it– that’s lazy. Most establishments you frequent regularly are begging you to take their boxes.I’ve heard the boxes from liquor stores are good because they are built more sturdily than most and you can just ask the stock person if you can have them.

For example, a friend of mine scored big at the local gas station during her last move. She found one that kept a pile of flattened cardboard boxes behind the counter. When asked what they were used for, the clerk responded that they were from shipments, and they were just waiting for their dumpster to be emptied before throwing them out. She asked if she could have them, and he gladly gave them all to her.

I’ve also found great boxes at liquor stores. While often times these boxes aren’t the biggest, they are designed for holding multiple, heavy bottles at once, so you can rest assured that your boxes won’t fall apart during your move. And, similar to my friend’s new favorite gas station, liquor stores tend to always have boxes they’d like to get rid, and generally ASAP. Go to any Grocery stores in the afternoon. Everyday they restock their shelves and teardown boxes. Ask them if they can set some boxes aside for you. Nursing home. Call and ask for someone in housekeeping. Ask for empty diaper boxes. They’re sturdy and have handles and aren’t so big that they get super heavy when filled. Ask for a certain number and promise to pick them up at a certain time. Bigger places will have more.

 

Where to get free packing paper!

If you have a neighbor or family member/friend who gets the paper, just ask them to toss you all their old papers instead of throwing them out/recycling them. I use newspaper when I do art projects all the time and my parents get the newspaper every day, so when I’m low on paper I just ask them to fill up a bag full of paper from their recycling bin and hand it off to me.

Go to the grocery store or another store that sells papers and ask if you can have any old/unsold papers at the end of the day/week. Just explain you’re moving and if they have any free boxes/papers/etc you would really appreciate it. You could just take a bunch, I’m sure it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I think it’s nicer/better to ask.

 

Pay in Pizza and Beer.

Finally, if anything, here’s the best insider secret I can possibly give you. Pizza and beer can move mountains. Seriously. Call up the laziest friend you know. If you’re in college, you know at least one person who wakes up at 5 pm, right? Ask them if they’d help you for free pizza and beer. Chances are, they will.

Truth be told, you haven’t seen this person work or even lift a finger (how do they go to class or pay rent?) the whole time you’ve known them. Yet, here they are, holding one end of your couch while schmoozing with your dad, who’s holding the other end. And knowing that tip alone, makes moving not so bad after all.

 

Using Amtrak to Move Cheaply Across the Country

Regarding moving costs: If you don’t have any pieces of big furniture to move (and aren’t driving), by far the cheapest way to do it is Amtrak. You pack things up into medium sized boxes and drop it off to ship maybe the day before you fly out. When I did it, I think the cost was something like $50 plus $0.50 per pound, so I moved all my books and shoes and offseason clothing and dishes and such for less than $150. I flew Southwest, checked 2 enormous bags, and that was that! If you know anyone in the area who has a car that can help you pick them up at the station, that’s great but otherwise I think renting a truck at Home Depot or via something like the Getaround app is also pretty cheap.

If you go Amtrak, shipping for small items becomes so cheap that you can actually acquire stuff over time and move it there instead of having to wait and get it all there your first week. At my school, at the end of the year there would always be people throwing away tons of completely usable housewares and items like pantry staples and spices. That, combined with my parent’s castoffs, were enough to keep me going for a while.

14 Money Saving Tips for College Students

14 saving tips for college students

You’re in college for a reason. To learn, right? To set yourself up for a rewarding life of getting paid to do the things that fire up your brain. Well, your course-load won’t reflect this, but you’re also in college to learn how to manage your money. And there’s never a better time than when you don’t have any J.

Here are my top money saving tips for college students that will help you get through school with cash to spare and no debt other than your student loan.

14 Money Saving Tips for College Students

  1. Don’t wait.

    Don’t wait until you have more money to start to save. It’s a myth that can trap you for life – you do not need to make more money to start to save.

    Track your spending for a month to see how it lines up with your budget. Almost every person who does this is surprised how much more they spend than they thought – usually on things like eating out and beer. Make it cool to be nerdy about spending. Take advantage of free online tracking software like trackeverycoin or mint. Or keep every receipt and tally up the results manually. Whatever. Just try it, and get the real picture of what you’re spending by tracking every time you pull out your wallet.

    Assuming you have no student loan debt, think about opening up a Roth IRA and contributing something to it on a regular basis. You qualify because you have earned income. A ROTH contribution allows your money to grow tax free, is easy to set up, and offer a wide variety of investments. The original amount contributed can be withdrawn at any time without penalty because it is paid in post tax. So, for instance, if you needed to make a down payment on a home in a few years you could use the money you had contributed to your Roth.

  2. Get inspired.

    Check out this cool savings calculator. Plug in one of your basic expenditures, like your morning coffee, and see how much you could save by cutting back just a bit. For example, that $2 daily cup of coffee is $14 every week. Cutting back on that one thing alone would add up to $3718 in savings over just 5 years.

    Apply for scholarships as often as possible. You don’t always have to be a star student to qualify and even a small bursary can be a big help.

    What’s it worth to live off campus? Residence or dorm living is MUCH cheaper. Yes, it’s pretty tempting to share that cool off-campus apartment with your best buddies, but think about the electricity bills, laundry costs, transportation costs to and from college… and then compare with the costs of residence.

  3. Get What You’ve Already Paid For.

    Bone up and make sure you know all of the free stuff that comes with your tuition. College tuition often includes free access to libraries (some provide free movie rentals), gyms, intramural sports, student clubs, guest speaker series, and entertainment on-campus. Take advantage of them and save your $$.

  4. Cellphone!

    Be sure you’re on the most economical cell phone plan for your needs. Maybe get on a family plan with your parents – that way everybody saves. Tip: texting is expensive. Companies charge both sender and receiver of text messages, so consider using web-based messaging services like Facebook (sorry) or Myspace. Or send email!

    Gotta make a budget. Whether you start one on the back of a napkin, or set up your own detailed spreadsheet, planning where you will spend your money each month is hands down the best way to take control. There are all kinds of tips out there on how to set up a personal budget, including one of my faves here. Don’t just take it from me. Try it yourself and see how much easier it is to save if you have a good idea what the big picture looks like on the personal finance front.

  5. Beans over beef.

    I’m talking grocery shopping here. Meat is much more expensive than beans. Buy groceries instead of eating out. And buy on sale. Buy in bulk.

    Plan your meals, and spend an afternoon a week preparing quick easy meals that you grab from your own freezer or fridge at a fraction of the cost. It’s definitely cheaper to go make your own food with what you get from the groceries but it gets hard when you got hw and projects. I usually get $400 meal plan and ramen and $2 Trader Joe’s frozen dinners during my studying term so I can just eat and gtfo to study. You can live off of $200 a month in most areas unless cost of living is really high. What I’d do is get a crockpot ($60) and make meals in bulk. You’ll get more meals for less money by slow cooking. And it doesn’t take much of your time. Set it up in the morning. Eat it for dinner. Then leftovers. With intelligent freezing, you could also unthaw previous meals for variety once you get things going.

  6. Absolutely avoid credit.

    Okay, except for your student loan. Pay with cash or debit. If you have a credit card, put it away and don’t use it except for emergencies. If you don’t have a credit card, don’t get one. There are all kinds of companies who love to get college students hooked on their credit tools, charging outrageous interest and laughing all the way to the bank while you struggle under the load of compound interest on the charges you rung up. Don’t get caught up in that trap!

    Credit cards do relatively little to effect your credit score in a positive way. Assuming you’re paying your bill off completely and on time. I had one for years and it didn’t really do anything. When I bought my first car on a 5 year loan plan, my credit shot up and after around 12-18 months of paying into it I had an immaculate credit rating.

  7. Pay interest.

    What? You heard me. This may be counterintuitive, but don’t just let your student loan sit there accumulating interest. Make the monthly interest payments and reap the benefits that will accrue. Here’s a great article on how this works and how much it can save you in the long run.

  8. Study on the cheap. Buy used textbooks! Every textbook for every class doesn’t have to be brand spanking new. Look for the used bookstores on or off campus. Check out ads in the student paper. Search for online versions of the books you need. The little bit of time and effort you put into looking for and buying used textbooks will save you BIG in the long run. And, as mentioned in another blog on this site, sell your own textbooks too once you’re done with them.Buy international editions, often can get a much cheaper current version, but sometimes have to get the previous edition to get a great deal. International edition is the same but on cheaper paper and not hardback. Exactly same content though. Textbook publishers have begun to change the homework problems in international editions more and more. That being said, you can easily get a considerably less expensive international edition and borrow a friend’s copy (or library copy on reserve) to make sure you’ve got the right pages at the back of the book! It’s well worth the extra leg work in many cases. International editions used to be identical to the main versions, but a few years ago the supreme court made a landmark decision that essentially said textbook publishers had no basis for prohibiting the sale of international editions in the United States. In reaction to losing that cases, textbook publishers started charging more for international editions, and also began changing homework problems in certain books in an effort to get college students to pay more for the main versions of books, but everything else is still the same.
  9. Ditch the driving.

    Carpool sounds so lame so we won’t use that term here. But gas, parking, parking tickets and tow charges all add up. Fast. So, hitch a ride with friends, or better yet, take transit.

    With a little thought, a little planning, and little adjustments in your behavior, you’ll develop great habits today that will make a big difference tomorrow. I promise.

Quick Guide to Keeping More of Your Money in Check (Get It?)

Guide to Keeping your money in the right balance

There are a lot of very helpful (and common-sense) financial gurus out there who can promise all kinds of wonderful things if you follow their wisdom. The first thing they’ll tell you is probably the hardest though – and that’s the cold, solid fact that there aren’t any shortcuts to keeping more of your money and becoming debt free.
 

Quick Guide to Keeping More of Your Money in Check (Get It?)

The financial gurus aren’t all that different from us…

The best of these financial advice experts on television and other media are the ones with a story to tell. In a lot of cases, financially careful people were brought up in a household where money was tight – and by observing a thrifty parent they were able to learn from an early age how important it is to manage our money.

Sometimes it may seem as if these folks are financially ‘better’ than ordinary people. But off course, life can be a pretty changeable thing – and there are doubtless many financially astute people who have had their ups and downs for various reasons such as redundancy or a downturn in the economy affecting business. So if you’ve ever felt the pinch, don’t worry – you’re not alone in this. And as with all things, the lean times can be a very useful learning experience for when things are less, well, lean…

Learning from the lean times…

For instance, I grew up during a comfortable era, and in a comfortable part of town. But my parents weren’t rich. So when I packed my stuff together and headed off to college, I knew that I wouldn’t be the kind of student who’d be dining out and paying cash every night, then driving home in a gas-guzzling but low slung and aerodynamic sports car. No, a big treat for me would be a trip to the baked potato shop once a week. Or maybe some fish and chips if I was feeling recklessly spendy.

All of which might sound frugal, bleak – maybe even Spartan. But here’s the thing – it really wasn’t all that bad. No, I will take a step further than that and say, loudly, that it was actually pretty good!

Why?

Oh, so many reasons! But, I will try and list the main ones to give you an idea of how my lean times worked for me:

The learning curve of value

If I’d always had a bit of spare cash, I’d never have learnt to cook. Think about that for a second. It would mean someone else cooking or preparing your dinner every night. For a decent profit margin too. Think of a restaurant meal’s price then compare it with the cost of the raw materials. Even in great value for money restaurants, some profit still has to be made. Same with microwave-ready meals. The value is in the convenience – and that’s why you pay a premium. Now, if I’d always had spare cash, I now realise that I’d always have wasted a proportion of it.

The upside of times when money’s too tight to mention  

We’ve all made mispurchases, I imagine. That bought-in-a-sale suit that never seems to get worn, or that restaurant meal that didn’t get eaten. Or we’ve maybe  overspent a little and had to endure effects of it until the cash flow is back to its ‘flow’ state. In tight times these things are somehow felt about twice as keenly. With some extra money kicking around a mispurchase or an overspend means putting up with the effects there and then. In other words, with no contingency cash (or very little) to put things right.

The upside of all this is that it provides a good learning context, and one from which you emerge much more careful with the contents of your wallet. I’m not even talking about being penny-pinching or parsimonious here. You just develop a little sixth sense for the things that are good value and those that aren’t – as well as instantly knowing when to shell out and when to refrain from spending a single penny.

A little bit of give and take can work wonders

A long time ago, I realised that the wider economy as well as our own personal situation is a bit like the weather. Sometimes it rains! And even the riches of rich guys probably feels poor – or at least disappointed at times – like when the price of stocks takes a dive, instantly dissolving a chunk of personal net worth.

So in the ‘ups and downs’ aspect of finances, few (if any) of us are totally immune. However there  are a series of steps we can take to ensure that things run smoothly, and here are a few that I always find to be massively important:

Cheapest doesn’t mean best. Shop around for quality as well as price. Get the best deal – it isn’t always the crazily low priced one.

Financial products – do they do what it says on the tin?’. Savings accounts may have good advertising – but many pay a rate of interest lower than inflation. In real terms, year-on-year, that isn’t saving so much as erosion! Also for any mortgages or other loans, make sure that you are clear – and I mean crystal clear – about the considerations of fees, rates, security, repayments and the like

The road is long – with wind in it…

So the song goes. But if you apply some ‘best practices’ in your behaviour, and get into a happy thrifty habit over the long term, you have a much better chance of being insulated against any financial shocks, and instead, hopefully, will be in good money health.


This post was guest-written by Chris from Spend It Like Beckham.

Spread Your Wings Without Blitzing Your Bank Account – The Secrets of Saving Money When You Leave Home

The Secrets of Saving Money when you move out for the first time

Leaving home is a massively exciting time. A life event. A rite of passage. The very first step on what will hopefully be a very long and enjoyable journey through independent adult life. However, the process of moving out can of course be just a little daunting at times, though. There’s absolutely no shame in admitting this. Moving house always rates highly in lists of stressful situations – and that applies to people who are veterans as well as first-timers.

The Secrets of Saving Money When You Leave Home

Life out there in the big bad world is going to be a lot of fun. But in order to get the most out of it, there is inevitably going to have to be some budgeting and general financial forethought. And while it would be nice to move out with a big pile of cash and no financial restrictions, the chances are that, like most of us, you’ll be moving out with a modest cash flow.

So, in order to help you get the most out of that modest cash flow, I’ve written this post in the hopes that I can help you save some cash during the weeks and months after moving out of the parental home. This post won’t make you rich or provide a magical snake-oil formula that makes currency rain down from the sky. But I hope that at the very least it highlights some of the danger points where we can find ourselves in a money-wasting zone, as well as some tips on how a prudent existence needn’t be a dull one.

Here our my Secrets of Saving Money When You Leave Home:

Repeat after me: it’s a learning process

There’s an old saying, and it goes like this – calm seas don’t make sailors. Experience is what shapes us. And life’s vicissitudes – be they financial, emotional, or whatever – are what give us our depth of character. All of which means that (despite our best intentions) there may be surprises or challenges along the way. We might even (whisper it softly) make mistakes.

Well, guess what? You’re only human. So by all means seek out and follow the best advice. But find the ability to forgive yourself if you don’t manage to be a paragon of financial virtue 100% of the time from day one.

Looking after your money, budgeting and saving is a learning process.

And none of us are above learning – no matter our level of experience.

 

Be prepared for contingencies – create an emergency fund

You never know what’s round the corner. You could meet the romantic partner of your dreams tomorrow, and suddenly need to buy some new clothes and pay for half (or all) of a meal at a fancy restaurant. A more prosaic scenario – you could lose your phone and need to purchase a new handset.

The simple fact is that the future is full of all this future stuff – none of which we can see yet but some of which will require expenditure. So get into the habit of having a lot of cash that is there simply for contingencies.

 

Trade down

It is pretty astonishing how much money you can save from trading down. You do this by looking at all of your weekly or monthly purchases and then trying out cheaper versions of them. So if you always buy one brand of a product, try out a private label or non-brand version of the same. If it’s tolerable, stick with it. If it isn’t, go back to your usual brand.

With brand goods the marketing, advertising and package design can add quite significantly to the price. And also very often the difference between a branded product and a budget one are minimal – to the extent that if we were presented both products unwrapped, it would be nigh on impossible to tell the difference.

 

Saving on banking, loans, utilities, and other necessities

It pays to shop around with banking and utilities just as much as it does with any other products. Maybe not as fun, but just as potentially useful in terms of keeping your expenditure lean and mean. Money saving check sites are all good and well, but they just tell you who provide the cheapest service, not the best. Personally, I like to seek out those who have won awards for their services. Organizations such as Moneyfacts (my go to site for such information) do the research for you, so you don’t have to. They do tend to pick out the best of the best when it comes to such matters, and they even hand out badges of honor to the winners of their awards, for example. So, keep an eye out for the providers who brandish these badges oh so proudly and find out as much as you can about any financial products you sign up for, well in advance of signing up, of course.

 

Understand shopper psychology

I remember being in the gleaming, futuristic computer and electrical floor of a department store more or less on the day a new version of a famous MP3 player was released.

Oh my, it looked so good. I mean like, wow!

My knees began to tremble. Suddenly my belly became a chasm, empty and yawning except for a flash of pure electricity bouncing around inside it like a firework.

I picked the thing up. The beautiful, perfect display model. Its OLED screen seemed to beam back at me with nothing but appeal radiating from every pixel.

I began to salivate.

I could feel my bank card starting itch.

And then something happened that I didn’t expect. Some voice, deep within me, said ‘Hey! You already have an MP3 player. You don’t need a new one yet. You can buy this one in the future when you do need one”.

The voice was right. I breathed deeply, counted to ten, and walked slowly backwards away from the MP3 player. Finding a zone of safety near a display of steam kettles, I closed my eyes briefly, and re-focused myself. Then I walked briskly out of the store, welcoming the grey of the late afternoon sky as I made my escape through the automated revolving door.

Have you ever been in a situation where it almost feels like a supernatural force is making you buy stuff? If you have, you are far from alone. In fact, there is even a recognized health condition known as compulsive buying disorder, which is believed to affect over 1 in 20 of the US population.

Now, while my experience with the MP3 player could hardly be classified as a compulsive buying disorder episode, it was very much a visceral thing. I wanted that MP3 player, soooo badly. But the difference is that I was able to resist its charms until months later when, with a small windfall, I was able to purchase it. And a great purchase it was too – I still use it every day!

The simple fact of the matter is that even for the majority of us who don’t have a buying disorder, temptation abounds. Of course it does. When you go to the supermarket, take a look at any item – be it a plastic bottle of lavatory cleaner or a can of beans. The product has been designed to look as appealing as possible by its manufacturer. It’s been placed by the store in the most appropriate place for it to receive your attention. It may even be on offer! Suddenly it becomes apparent that your purchase of the item is encouraged by these factors. So if you’re not looking to spend money, the best way is to avoid temptation altogether. It’s simply a fact that a trip to the supermarket often seems to include a few unplanned purchases. We’re hunter-gatherers. Of course we’re gonna go for a few extras when we’re out in the ultra-modern foraging space the modern retail space provides.

Control your Finances

And finally…

One last thing.

One of the most amazing things I’ve found is that if you keep a daily journal of your expenses, you get a sense of control over your finances that really makes a difference. By jotting down every single purchase, you can see starkly on the page each daily expenditure and how it compares with other days. For those of you who are a bit more tech savvy, there a lot of great budgeting apps out there. I would recommend TOSHL if you prefer tapping than jotting.

I don’t know if journalizing my expenditure sends a message to the subconscious or what, but it seems to work wonders. I think it may be because when you can see everything on the page, there’s less likelihood of getting an ostrich mentality in times when the expenditure is more than it should be. You make the necessary adjustments as you go, and all is calm.


This post was guest-written by Chris from Spend It Like Beckham.

My name is Chris and I write about all things financial in the world of football and everyday life. Money saving advice is always useful, no matter who you are, so I try to communicate my life experiences to help those who need it. You can find me over at Spend It Like Beckham or you can follow me on Twitter @officialsilb.

Top 16 Money Saving Blogs For Young People (my favorite is #16!)

Top 16 Money Saving Blogs for young people

Having been running this blog for a few months now, I have gradually collected a long list of fellow money saving blogs on similar topics, and today I decided to select the best ones and tell you what I like about them in a smililar manner than I did with the price comparison websites.

 

Top 16 Money Saving Blogs For Young People

Blogs are sorted in random order.

  1. MoneyNing

moneyning blog

This blog is voted one of 10 top personal finance blogs on WiseBread and rightfully so. You know how most blogs you subscribe to only publish super-interesting stuff every couple of weeks and the rest is fillers like this list? Well, not MoneyNing. I keep finding interesting stuff for myself every time I open up Feedly.

The best of their recent articles was Why You Can’t Stick to a Budget (And How to Get Over It).

  1. Rockstar Finance

rockstarfinance

This is an awesome, hand-curated article directory. If you want only the best articles about money stuff, you go check with my homie J.Money (it sounds like an MC’s name doesn’t it?) to give you your fix. This one time, one of ThriftyTricks’ posts was also featured, just because I told J.Money that he is really good with design, especially his avatar work. I’m just kidding.

I can’t select a recent best article because they constantly post creme de la creme.

  1. PoorStudent

poorstudent money blog

PoorStudent is another blog in my rss feed. It’s written by a 20-year old who I also had the pleasure to meet online and he even published my guest post on how to start saving from scratch. They normally post short articles on money management for students (obviously) with sometimes common sense, but always very useful advice.

Recent post of theirs I liked was 5 Things You Shouldn’t Do with Money in College.

  1. Phroogal Blog

phroogal blog

Phroogal blog has recently been publishing top-notch articles on personal finance and I pretty much have to read every single one that pops up in my Twitter feed. Jason is trying to motivate young people to start managing their finances effectively and teaches them how to save money in various aspects of their student lives.

A few days ago, they posted Preparing for the Future: The Art of Networking in College.

  1. GradMoneyMatters

gradmoneymatters blog

They might have a sort of ugly site, but the information is what counts! If you’re looking for ways of making money or even starting your own business, this is the place to go. I didn’t know until now that Sam (the owner) had even posted about dumpster diving at some point – and you gotta admit that it doesn’t get much better than this. Right? Well, go check them out.

This is the dumpster diving post right here.

  1. YoungFinances

youngfinances

My parents have taught me a lot about being stingy and exactly nothing about investing. It’s a good thing we have internet for this purpose and one of such blogs is YoungFinances. What I like about LaTisha’s site is that she talks a lot about entrepreneurship and I believe this is extremely important for young adults these days.

Read a cool post First Job! How Do I Spend My First Paycheck?

  1. Green Panda Treehouse

greenpanda money blog

Their about page says that “Green Panda Treehouse is a personal finance blog for college students and recent graduates.” Let’s let them have their 90s web design and focus on the content they’re providing (it’s awesome). The owner’s name is Mike and he seems to be a successful internet entrepreneur, running multiple blogs and all. Very cool.

One of the latest published posts is Savvy Ways to Cut Down Your Car Expenses.

  1. Graduated Learning: Life After College

graduatedlearning money blog

LAC sadly has a similarly ugly design, but it also features a couple of really high-quality posts (and some that are, well, less interesting for me). The owner of this blog is some Steph, and she has a sense of humor which is oftentimes lacking in the money saving niche blogs.

I hope I’m not promoting a sponsored post that Steph will now earn thousands on, but I liked her review of the Payoff.com app.

  1. CashCowCouple

cashcowcouple blog

I might have a tiny crush on Jacob’s facial hair. Sadly, it is already married along with the rest of his body (and mind, one should hope) to Vanessa, the other owner of this epic blog. Posts are sometimes slightly philosophical, and some are straight-up instructional, which makes a great combination. You will in general not find any filler posts, just plain usefulness.

One could say this blog is ‘the good stuff’ – see A Brief Introduction To Travel Hacking for a proof.

  1. FrugalRules

frugalrules blog

I like that John also posts about freelancing and even throws in a couple of productivity tips along the way. Tbh, I am not entirely sure how he can produce this much good content almost every day. The blog might not be exactly student, but I’m including it because nobody should miss out on it. Just check out How to Raise Your Prices as a Freelancer to see what I mean.

  1. Making Sense Of Cents

makingsenseofcents saving blog

MSoC is a pretty popular blog, covering pretty much everything you need to know about money. Well, maybe not everything, but at least the fun part – and that is making money. But Michelle also covers budgeting, frugality, and lifestyle topics, and that makes it an extremely useful blog that I come lurk on pretty much every couple of days.

In addition to income reports from online businesses (awesome!), go read Reason to Have an Emergency Fund: Medical Emergencies.

  1. Ask The Young Professional

asktheyoungpro blog

I only recently started following this blog and it seems to be more in the ‘lifestyle’ niche, but never mind that. The founder Katie works for Sesame Street – how cool is that?

The blog itself however doesn’t have anything to do with puppets. It’s trying to teach young people how to succeed in their careers. Kind of like, when you’re done with the phase of life covered by ThriftyTricks, you’re ready for ATYP. Check out Using Your Twenties To Prepare For Your Future to see what I mean.

  1. MoneySmartGuides

moneysmartguides blog

MSG is an authority in personal finance niche. It’s more aimed at adults and thus has slightly more ‘dull’ articles. But if you’re interested in formal budgeting, investing, debt management, and/or you consider yourself a serious adult, you should maybe read their articles. For example The Ultimate Guide To Retiring Early.

  1. I Will Teach You To Be Rich

teachyoutobereach blog

Ramit Sethi is literally all over the place in the online marketing blogging niche. I once heard in an interview that he started with a personal finance site, but then realized that you can’t really sell things to people who want to save money, so he focused on writing about making more money instead. Well, with just over 60k followers on Twitter, I think he had succeeded. The cultish website IWTYTBR is a must-read for anyone who wishes to level-up their life. See Automating your Personal Finances.

  1. 20s Finances

20sfinances blog

I actually found this site while doing research on all other sites, I wasn’t following it until now. Corey, the owner, seems like a bro, and the articles are pretty well-written and lengthy (in a good way). The latest post was Why You Should Hang Out With Your Professor.

  1. ThriftyTricks

thriftyricks money saving blog

Well, this concludes today’s list. Be sure to check out the rest of this site if you’re not yet a Thrifter and don’t forget to share this post if you liked it. Also, if you have any suggestions for this list of money saving blogs, be sure to send it over!

How To Cut Your Own Hair And Save Money in the process

How to Cut your own hair

Here’s something my readers don’t know about me – I have been cutting my own hair for more than a year. This post is about why and how.

Learning how to cut your own hair

The number one reason is that I don’t like random people touching me, especially not my hair. Number two is that due to my frugality, my hair was always overgrown. I would rarely go to a friend (who is a hairdresser) to get a haircut for $20. At a certain point I had figured out that this expense is going to stick with me for my entire life, meaning that if I only get one haircut per month and I get to live for another 50 years (being 21 yo at the time of this writing), I’ll blow $12.000 just to look decent.  I thought that’s unacceptable if I can get the best hair clippers on Amazon for less than $20, so I went ahead and bought ‘em at a local supermarket.

How To Cut Your Own Hair And Save Money in the process

It turns out I am not the only one who had thought of this. And now I want to teach you how to cut your own hair too :) Cutting your hair can save money and sometimes lead to better hair styles.

What you’ll need to cut your own hair

  • hair clippers with guards
  • scissors (optional)
  • styling comb (optional)
  • a towel (or another mean of protecting your clothes from hairs) and/or a cleaning brush (optional)
  • 1 large mirror (preferably two)
  • at least some idea of what kind of a haircut you want – check out these men’s hairstyles for example

 

Haircut types that you can give yourself

My own haircut is relatively simple; my hair is very short on sides and on the back, and there’s a little more hair on top; I later discovered that this haircut is called Quiff. It’s very popular with teenagers nowadays.

Of course, there are numerous different haircuts that you can do with hair trimmers. The easiest to do yourself (called ‘buzzcuts’) are butch cut, crew cut, flattop, and ivy league. These are sometimes named introduction cut, high and tight, Harvard clip, or Princeton, but they’re not much different from one another anyway.

buzzcut-haircuts

Buzzcut haircuts that you can do yourself

A little harder to do are quiff, undercut, mohawk, and Caesar’s cut.

modern-haircuts

A little more advanced haircuts

I’m sure there are other haircuts out there, you can find them here. Now let’s move on.

When you’ve decided which haircut you want, you need to figure out how to do it. You can do that by simply looking at a photo and noticing where the hair is the shortest and where it is the longest. Where does it fade and how quickly? Draw diagrams for the chosen haircut to create a cheat-sheet and check out this resource for hints.

Techniques to cut your own hair

Personally, I only use hair clippers with 2 clip-on guard combs that came with it. I wanted to develop a simple enough workflow for cutting my hair, so I never used additional tools such as ear guide combs, I don’t even use a secondary mirror to check the back of my head. I would suggest you develop your own style and get whatever additional tool you need. You’re going to save tons of money anyway.

Get the cheat-sheet and decide which size of the hair clipper guards will determine the longest hair in the haircut – most probably, it will be on the top of your head. Put guards on and start cutting your hair – always cut hair in the opposite direction of its growth. The following image shows in which direction hair normally grow – it might be different with you though. Simply run your hand through your hair to find out!

hair-growth-direction

How hair normally grows

You want to cut the whole head with this largest size. Afterwards, set the next, smaller size and cut that area. When making a fade (smooth transition in between two sizes), gently lift the clippers when finishing the cut. This method is called ‘fading’ – this video does a pretty good job of explaining it.

It’s not too hard. Find the right length guard (when in doubt, go longer. You can always go shorter afterwards). I’d recommend looking in a mirror and having a second hand-held mirror handy for the back.You’re gonna want to dampen your hair a little, then comb the sides down until the part is how you want it. Comb the top inwards, so that the part is clear.

Next, turn on your clippers, and using the mirrors, slowly cut. This way, you can go a little faster while trimming the bottom portion. When you get to the back, face away from the wall mirror and use the hand-held mirror to see. Slowly cut around the part again, then do the bottom portion.

For the back side, I normally just feel my hair to see if it’s smooth, but you can use a smaller secondary mirror to check the back side (I even used my phone’s camera a couple of times). Either way you need to have a good idea of what your back of the head looks like and about hair growth direction.

After you’re done with the haircut you can put some final touches in, creating nice arches and sideburns, fixing the neckline (for hair clipping, I recommend the tapered nape), forming a mohawk, etc. You can do that with scissors and such, but I only use clippers.

Closing tips on how to cut your own hair

I hope this guide came in handy to anyone who would like to save at least $20 per month. I’d like to stress that practice makes perfect – I still make mistakes, even though it’s been about a year I’ve been making this exact haircut. Don’t be shy to ask your family for help – you can even cut each other’s hair.

The most difficult part with cutting your hair will obviously be the back of the head. You can either do the 2 mirror strategy (which is actually pretty hard/confusing at first because your right/left switch when looking at a mirror backwards) or you can do it by feel. Both are very difficult but I think that by doing it by feel leads to better results and less mistakes.

I am sorry this guide is not covering the topic of cutting your own hair if you are long-haired – in this case, hair clippers are obviously not the way (unless you want some undercut). If you’re wondering about the subject, I suggest you check out this report and this guide.

I recommend having someone else help you with your neckline, as it gets a little tricky. It’s confusing trying to discern which direction to move your hand in the mirror and it’s easily messed up. If you can, get a beard trimmer (or any smaller clippers) for the next part. Remove all guards from it and cut sideburns to desired length, then around the ears, and you’re good.

Practice cutting your own hair!

Whatever way you cur your own hair, you’re going to have to keep practicing which will mean you’ll need a backup plan for those instances when you really mess up your hair. For example, a backup plan is to shave down my head to a very short length, which incidentally coincides with the lowest sized clip for the sides/back of my head. obviously, starting off you’ll want to start with a 4 and work your way up to an 8 (larger the # the more hair it keeps on your head). a 4 is a safe size, but you’ll need to cut your hair more often at first. once you get comfortable with the process then you can go down to a 2 or even a 1/0 if you want a tigher (less hair on the sides/back) fade.

Save On School, Spend On Booze! 12 Crazy Tips For Saving Money On Textbooks

12 Tips for Saving Money on Textbooks

In many countries, college is nowhere close to thrifty. On top of all the effort you need to put into studying and doing assignments, you’re likely to be left with a mountain of debt after graduation (Unless of course you live in Europe like myself and/or not go to college at all.). Professors don’t pay for textbooks. They get them for free so that they can evaluate them and decide if they want to use them on our course. When a new edition comes out the publisher’s rep will usually email a professor and ask if you’re interested in seeing it. A few days later it’s on your desk with a nice note offering to discuss the changes they’ve made.

As you know, I am a big fan of digital tools and as you may have guessed, I will suggest you ditch the physical textbooks altogether and replace them with e-books, but that’s not all. Here are some tips on saving money on textbooks.

 

How to Save Money Buying Textbooks

1. Buy used …

First tip – just to have it included on the list – is to simply buy used textbooks. You can find these on Amazon, Craigslist and other online marketplaces (some are listed bellow). There are brick and mortar stores that hold used textbooks, so try getting them there, and some libraries sell older versions of those as well.

When seniors graduate they will gladly sell you their books – you could even buy lots of them in the summer and sell them on when school starts. At our school, we had this once-a-year textbook fairs where we could sell last year’s books and buy ‘new’ ones.

2. … and sell your own.

If also works vice versa – after you’re done with school, sell those textbooks either to freshmen, friends, or online (for example here) and make your money back.

4. Pop! Pop! Pop! Watching Prices Drop

It’s a good idea to buy textbooks later in the year – some of the listed, ‘required’ ones might not be needed after all and you could just study from yours or your friend’s notes. After the first month or so prices tend to drop, especially on used textbooks, and it gets easier to haggle the price down.

5. International edition of college textbooks

Consider getting an international edition off of Amazon/eBay, especially as a US student (I know, I know, the US textbook market is a scam). The covers might look a bit different, but comparing a few random pages, the index, and the page count will likely reveal that it’s essentially the same book only a lot cheaper – even including shipping charges! Be sure to check for the right unit system though.

Instead of shelling out $200 per book, you can order the international version for $20- $50 USD on Abebooks.com. The only difference is that it’s the same print quality as newspaper. The books come from India where copyright laws aren’t as strictly enforced and People can’t afford the glossy paper and colour. So the printers have to compete with the bootleggers and price the books competitively.I found it humorous that the books came with a holographic sticker for authenticity, yes it is that bad over there. Hopefully if enough students start importing textbooks from India, they might reconsider their Satanic pricing schemes in NA.

6. Oldies But Goldies

Your professor might be ok with you using an older edition of the textbooks, as they mostly don’t change much – except for maybe the examples. Write a polite email to them asking if that would be ok and if they have any information on how suitable is that older edition. They might even be able to share an unused copy if you’re super nice.

7. Arr, Arr!

You can always try the ‘nasty’ way and just borrow the textbooks from friends or the library and scan/photocopy them up. Another way is to buy them from a store, scan them and then return them for a refund. I’m not saying you should do it, but I hear there are digital editions of some books available where pirates gather online.

8. Scan It Up

If you happen to do a lot of scanning of what are, naturally, your own books that you purchased in a perfectly legal matter and acquired their authorship rights, you might want to invest in a DIY book scanner like this one. You could hypothetically make money by selling these scans or copies to your buddies and schoolmates, but that would be illegal.

9. Print-on-demand

Another thing that is illegal is sending digital textbooks, snatched from the world wide web, to a print-on-demand company and making a physical copy for little money. I totally do not recommend doing that.

10. Best Roomie Ever

If your roommate is taking the same classes, convince her to share the same textbook and split the costs of the purchase.

11. Ditch The Extras

Some textbooks offer additional stuff like online courses and downloadables, but you don’t need to pay for these if you don’t need them; the publishers in USA are required to offer the plain version by law.

If you are assigned a custom edition, 90% of the time it is just the basic ISBN with either certain chapters cut out OR just a different binding (ie softcover instead of hard cover).

The way that you can check is open up to the copyright page (usually the second page). It will say what source material and ISBNs the book is taken from. This will tell you what real edition you can buy instead.

The custom editions never have material custom made for your class. Most of the time it’s just professors that were talked into “making it cheaper for students” by sleazy sales reps.

 

12. Finally: Let’s Get Digital

In regards to digital copies, investing in a tablet computer or an e-reader can be a perfectly reasonable decision, especially since you’ll never have to print out another textbook or buy it at the full price. Getting a used device will save you even more money.

BONUS: A List Of Places To Get Textbooks Online

There are some websites that have electronic versions of textbooks available online for free. Below are some of the better websites for free online textbooks:

Buy:

Digital:

Classified ads:

Rental:

 

Top 11 Reviews of the Best Price Comparison Websites

Top 11 Price Comparison websites

Comparing offers has never been easier than in the era of information technology. There are tools and websites that do comparison instead of us and it’s almost like buying at all your favorite stores at once. The prices and product specs are available with a few clicks, you just need to know where to look for them – and that’s what this post is about.

 

What are price comparison websites?

Price comparison websites will differ quite a bit. Which one to pick will often depend on what you want to compare.  For example, it depends what you want to compare.

  • Compare the Market is what I use for Home/Car insurance
  • Money Supermarket is what I use for banks/credit cards/savings etc
  • ShopStyle is what I use for clothes

Here’s our reviews of the top 11 price comparison websites that consumers can use to find the cheapest prices on all sorts of things.

Reviews of the top 11 price comparison websites

Pricegrabber.com

Oftentimes, shopping engines are pretty badly designed and look like they’re from the 90’s, but this is not the case with Pricegrabber. Consequently, the user experience is outstanding and the site is easy to navigate. Items can be displayed as a list or in a grid view, and they seem to have complete descriptions. The site allows setting price alerts, searching for similar products, and selecting multiple items for comparison.

Pricegrabber offers you a nice description of the item you’ve searched for and the list of stores that stock it along with prices, which, in my opinion, is the main feature of any price comparison site. Category search is also enabled, and there is a huge selection of filters on results page, from weight to product-specific properties.

Shopping is limited to UK, US, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico. They also offer a mobile app for iDevices and Android.

Google.com/shopping

Google is jumping on a bandwagon with this, but it seems they’ve missed it by a little bit and are now desperately trying to clamber their way up onto it. Some of the items have this neat 3D view that I haven’t seen on any other price comparison website, but this doesn’t quite substitute the insufficient descriptions that some items have. There are other great features like reviews from the sites, price comparison of the same product on a subpage, and shipment cost estimates. Google clearly states that it’s being compensated for including some of the products, which is a refreshing frankness that some other sites don’t have.

TheFind.com

Another one of the nicely-designed sites. Apart from good enough UX, a big differentiating factor is the ability to sort results by payment processing certificates and payment methods – this can be super useful. They claim to have 500mil products, but I wasn’t able to check this. Either the location settings are pretty unreliable or they don’t support non-residents of the US (it’s the latter, but they do offer the UK version. clap, clap.). There is no way of browsing through categories, and you can get directly to the store after clicking on an item, or see the details first. Under details, there are coupons hidden under a separate tab – a pretty cool feature!

Shopping.com

Shopping.com is an ebay service so lots of results come from there, but some of the information is still pretty inacurate (e.g. the product can already be sold). Product descriptions are not too consistent, and often missing information. After clicking on a product link, a screen appears that gets super-annoying after a few times. Site can be effectively used by people living in France, UK, Germany, Australia, and US.

Despite all that, the site is still pretty useful. Search results page offers plenty of filters that help you find the right item, and their shopping guides seem very accurate and helpful. Definitely worth checking out, even if it’s just for these guides. And since the site is backed by ebay, it’s likely it’s here to stay.

Shopzilla.com

The front page of Shopzilla can easily trick you into thinking that this is going to be a pleasant, well-designed price comparison experience, but clicking on anything soon reveals otherwise. I would really love to see the subpages of this site redesigned as well, but other than that, the site offers more or less standard features of any shopping engine. All links are direct links to stores, which can be rather impractical if your goal is to compare not just prices, but also features and reviews. In terms of the latter, the site does offer individual stores’ reviews, which is a nice add-in. Additionally, unless you live outside the USA like more than 95% of the population, there is a nice tax & shipping calculator available based on your zip code. There are also sites available for France, Germany, and UK.

Pronto.com

A rather average site that displays comparison of prices in different stores for that same product. The category browsing works great, but the search not so much, displaying what is in my opinion too many Google ads. The service does, however, let you know about the stores that may not ship to your area, and it lets you set a ‘Sale Alert’ on a particular product. They also have a subpage with stores that currently offer discounts. Design is pretty average, but not too bad either.

Idealo.co.uk

Finally, a site that is aimed at European residents. This 90’s-looking (read: ugly) website is surprisingly useful – the search works just as you’d expect, with a list of distributors of a single item and their prices, shipping prices, payment options, user reviews, voucher codes, stock, and more. Truly an information- and feature-packed website, highly recommended for europeans.

Nextag.com

The site does not shine on great looks, but it makes up for that to an extent with their radar feature – it sends you an email when price of a certain product drop. This site features many stores that I haven’t heard of before, so in terms of money saving, it might be a good idea to check it out. There is a sister site available for comparing travel costs for USA and even international. The site itself supports Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, and Australia, which is a much larger selection than we’re used to on competing sites. Another nice time-saving tool is the ability to buy items directly from their site. There is also a mobile app available.

Become.com

Given the popularity of this site, I ended up being pretty disappointed with the whole experience. Searching for the term ‘e-reader’ did not present me with different e-reader models as I have mistakenly expected, but rather with a number of e-reader sleeves, bags, kids toys, fingerprint readers, etc. The site appears to be USA-only, so there’s another minus. The site, in short, is rather mediocre, with the exception of their thorough shopping guides.

Smarter.com

This is another one of those sites that are really nothing special concerning look and functionality, but have nice shopping guides and other articles. The search sometimes tries to suggest related products instead of the one searched for. Unfortunately, there is no ability to compare multiple items before the buyer is ready to purchase, but you can compare prices of some products in different stores. They offer separate sites for Japan, Korea, and China, but the main site appears to be aimed at only USA.

Shopper.cnet.com

The Shopper site is reliable, and we expect no less from this tech website network. It is fairly usual, with professional design and it’s easy to navigate. Search likes to sometimes suggest non-related products, but you can at least tick them off and compare multiple items. Ads are not excessive, they offer current promo codes and coupons, and they provide you with the shipping and tax info. US-only site, featuring many different stores.

15 Money Saving Products That Make Awesome Gifts

15 Money Saving Products that also make awesome gifts

Spending money in order to save it doesn’t seem like a very intuitive thing to do to most of us, but there are some products you just got to have to avoid bigger expenses. I tried to collect as many as I could that still made sense and were as essential as possible. Here are my choices for great money saving products that also make awesome gifts. Not only will the money savings products save you money immediately, they will will last for a very long time.
Continue reading

20+ Essential Dirt Cheap Ingredients That Go A Long Way

20+ Essential Dirt-cheap ingredients that can make a ton of different meals

Today we’re discovering the secret method for getting yourself to eat out less. It’s not that secret, really, the main idea is to have certain foods at home that enable you to cook up a delicious meal in very little time. I tried to put them in a handy list that can be easily transformed into a shopping list. Here’s our list of cheap ingredients that go a long way when you’re on a budget.

Essential Dirt Cheap Ingredients That Go A Long Way

Ready-made and processed foods

  • Soups

can easily be made into sauces – the best for this intent are mushroom, chicken, and celery.

  • Tomato sauce (jarred/canned)

even if you can’t cook anything, you can still cook a pasta with tomato sauce from a jar.

Veggies and fruits

  • Chickpeas, beans, and lentils

can be used for loads of things, like salads, soups, as a side dish, etc. They take a long time to cook, so it’s best in most cases to get canned ones.

  • Tomato puree/concentrate

if you’re out of tomato sauce, it can be used for pasta (for recipe, check out our post about weird meat-less recipes), plus it has numerous other uses.

  • Carrots(fresh)

are super, and I mean super, cheap. Stock up on them and recipes with them – my wife for example makes mean carrot soup with ginger.

  • Salad.

If you’re like me, you never have the time to wash, cut up, and prepare a salad, so I am a big fan of salad kits, but they can get a little bit expensive. I suppose you could buy plenty of salad, get it cut up and ready, and store it in the fridge.

  • Tomatoes

tend to be super-cheap, and they are also very healthy. Buy them in bulk and make pasta sauce or juice, or just cut them up fresh to make a simple salad. Tomato from the farmer’s market is much tastier than the one in supermarkets.

  • Potatoes

it’s really cheap and can be cooked, baked, fried, mashed, or mixed. The most basic recipe is to boil a few potatoes in salted water and cooking them for about 30 minutes.

  • Other frozen and canned vegetables.

Buy as needed, and stock up when it’s discounted.

Meat, fish, and alternatives

  • Tuna (pref. canned)

is great to combine with tomato sauce and pasta for a quick meal. Like other fish, it’s a great source of protein, and it offers a significant flavour.

  • Sardines (pref. canned)

Make a great snack when mixed with mustard, and can be used similarly to tuna.

  • Eggs

are dirt cheap, nutritious, and healthy. They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and there are numerous ways of preparing them. They can even be frozen.

  • Cheese.

Everybody loves cheese, but it can be pricy at times. Buy it when it’s discounted, grate it, and  freeze. You’ll have cheese for the next couple of months. Isn’t that just grate?

  • Chicken

Chicken is like cheese, buy when discounted and freeze for later. Chicken is generally the cheapest of all meat. I love a good roasted chicken. You can do an oven roasted chicken with root vegetables for like $6. I buy these little 2.5lbs chickens and they are delicious (and usually about $1.50 a pound)
Tofu

is awesome if you like the taste. You can keep it covered in water in the fridge for up to a week, just make sure you change that water every day.

Starch

  • Pasta,

especially dried one is easy to prepare (10-15 minutes of cooking) and can be combined with meat, fish, vegetables, and pretty much everything else.

  • Rice

is great to be bought in bulk as it doesn’t go bad for ages. Normally, it takes some time to cook it, so if you eat a lot of it, get one of those rice cookers. Black beans and rice:

  • Cook up some instant rice (about 2 servings is perfect)
  • Toss in a can of black beans. For anything else I rinse them, but I like the bean brine for this.
  • Pour in some spicy V8
  • Add spices to make it hotter/tastier: red pepper flakes, garlic, onions (onion powder will do), your favorite hot sauce, and I usually put in some of this cajun rub from Weber. I put it on everything, it’s fantastic. Oh and salt, especially if you used low sodium beans or V8.

Feeds 2 and I can throw it together in 15 minutes.

‘Taste enhancers’ that are Cheap

  • Onions

are the core basics of many foods – from soups to pasta, you can always just fry half a sliced up onion and cook it along for better taste.

  1. Garlic

is almost the same as onions, and you can even use them together. It also has many positive health effects.

  • Soy and fish sauce.

You will need these to make anything asian. They don’t cost much and can be used for non-asian foods as well.

  • Essential seasonings

– as I had written in previous posts, simple seasoning can save the day when it comes to cooking. Even if you’re eating pasta or rice every single day, you can make it different by adding oregano, rosemary and other herbs de provence to the meal while cooking. Curry is another great example, but for another type of foods (soups, sauces).

  • Salad and barbecue sauce

can be used in things like sandwiches. If you happen to just make some plain chicken, you can add some sauce and make it into a finished meal.

So, it’s your turn. What would you add to the list?

How to Throw an Awesome Party on a Budget

How to throw an awesome party on a budget

Good day everyone. So maybe you’re expected to throw a party soon – for the upcoming halloween or later on for christmas or new year’s. Let me share a piece of knowledge right away – organizing parties is a pain. And not just that, it’s super lavish. I tried to collect some of the best tips for making a party on a budget.

And as always, if you like the post, subscribe to our newsletter (see the bottom of this post)!

How to Throw an Awesome Party on a Budget

  1. First off, the party needs music. This is an easy one, you can just hook up a pair of normal speakers to a laptop and you’re good. Use that laptop to play music from Youtube, 8tracks, Spotify, Pandora, and similar services. I recommend 8tracks, which is essentially a youtube player except you let other people compile the songs for you. Super easy. The genre will largely depend on the audience, but I think you can’t go wrong with 90’s or oldies goldies.
  2. Related to the previous tip, if you don’t have a certain gear, for example good speakers, or an x-box, crockpot, enough plates, (we’ll talk about all that in a second) just borrow it. It’s best to get them from friends, but you might be able to get it at second-hand stores as well – it won’t be free though.
  3. Cheap Party Decorations -Pick a colour/theme and stick to whichever you decide: you could go ‘picnic’ with red and white checkered tablecloths from the dollarstore, white and kraft paper with an accent colour is pretty, ‘vintage tea party’ is very pretty – tea cups with your treats in it, doilies from the dollar store will add to the effect. Look around in your environment and see what you can find. Wildflowers look awesome in mason jars as well as vases – they look great in buckets, even. Think about family members and what they might have which could add to the overall look. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! :)I’m not sure how economical helium-filled balloons are where you are, but lately I’d purchased a roll of white gift-ribbon from the dollar store and hung them from the tops of door frames (they stand up better than crepe paper and create a nice curtain) and purchase 2 dozen helium balloons which I just separate to float on the ceiling, letting the ribbons dangle (you can curl them, too). Once I turn the light down a bit, they create awesome atmosphere. Throw some candles on tables (even tealights in interesting containers) and you’ve got all you need for decorations – sometimes less is more!!

 

Cheap Party Food for a Budget Party

  1. Ordering pizzas can get expensive, since most pizzas are just not free. You still need to serve food, though, and oftentimes, asking people to chip in is not an option. One thing that you can do is to ask people to bring their own food. But don’t just say that, tell them that it’s going to be a surprise party since nobody will know what exactly you’ll all be eating. You might get 20 bags of chips and 1 sandwich, but hey, it’s not a queen’s reception, right?
  2. You can do the same with alcohol. Tell guests that it’s going to be a cocktail party and have them bring different syrups and spirits. Then let them experiment with them and everyone will just have a good time.
  3. On your own, including buying munchies? Lower your costs by buying exotic stuff. Let me elaborate; some foods on, say, asian market, are very unknown to most people, so they don’t know how much they cost. You will be able to impress guests without having to fork out a lot of money. So where do you get this stuff? Try finding brick-and-mortar foreign stores in your town, bug your internet friends abroad, or simply order online.
  4. Make buffalo chicken dip in the crockpot. It’s super easy, pretty cheap (you can used canned chicken or chicken thighs) and only requires a few ingredients.
  5. Tacos, sandwiches, tortillas and similar make the best drunk food. But why make them yourself if you can have your guests make them? Just offer a few dips, veggies, cheese, nacho, guacamole, hummus, soups, ground beef, jalapeños, and other ingredients and let them fill up their tacos (*giggle*). You could do the same with baked potatoes.
  6. You could find some chicken on sale and cook and shred it up for chicken salad type of topping for crackers. The celery you put in the chicken salad is really cheap and you could just cut some stalks up for regular snackies too. Maybe throw some peanut butter on some of them.
  7. If the guests happen to be baked themselves, they might prefer sweets. Chocolate is not too cheap most of the time, but if you get a deal, make a chocolate fondue. Everyone will love it. And/or serve some cut up fruits, make a fruit salad, or fruit skewers.
  8. You can always turn the party into a pot luck and ask each of your guests to bring in a little something of their own. Then on top of whatever you’re able to afford preparing you should have more than enough to feed everyone. Plus it’s fun!
  9. Before we move on to booze, here are just a couple more ideas for dirt-cheap party foods: make arancini or fried potato balls with a dipping sauce, or grilled polenta. To lower the cost of tortillas even further, you can make your own (it’s like making pancakes).
  10. Cheap Cakes for Parties – Definitely go a boxed cake. I’m not sure if you have icing sugar at home, but you could compare pricing to see what is more economical where you live – a home made frosting here or a store bought can. If you have food colouring (and again, these are all items I have in my pantry, so what’s “cheap” for you may require an investment, and now probably isn’t the time for that), you can make a ‘piping bag’ out of a sandwich bag with the corner cut out of it, and decorate by tinting your icing to a different colour.

 

Cheap Party Drinks for a Budget Party

  1. You don’t have to add to your already huge expenses by buying soft drinks. Instead, you could offer sweetened ice tea (tea+sugar+ice=ice tea, duh), garnished or flavored water, homemade kombucha, or drink mixes like Kool Aid.
  2. My ex knows somebody who is a firm believer in grain alcohol (ethanol). He mixes it with juice just like you would do with vodka. I should probably also point out that the guy’s a scientist, which may come as a no surprise. Anyway, that’s a great frugality lesson right there, just don’t drink lab alcohol.
  3. You could make your own. Seriously, you can safely make your own beer, but it won’t save you much money. On the other side, there are other alcohols that will save you money, for example sangria – you just need to use the cheapest wine. As well as sangria, this awesome blog suggests you can make hooch out of regular juice with a little help from our close friend yeast.
  4. If you have a Costco near you, the Kirkland liquor is mass produced by big name liquor companies and comparable or better in quality than most. In some states you do not need a Costco membership to buy liquor there.If you are looking for “nice” name brands, I would personally get the following:
    • Tito’s Handmade Vodka
    • Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch Whisky
    • Tanqueray Gin
    • 1800 Silver Tequila

    If people are making mixed drinks out of those, it might be wasteful overkill. Don’t cheap out and get Burnetts/Andre/Charles Shaw. May as well get Franzia at that point. A lot of other Trader Joes wines are good though.

  5. Try to stretch all the booze you’ve got, meaning that you should offer non-alcoholic or low-alcoholic drinks with booze to mix. Another way to get waaay more drunk by drinking beer into which has been added a shot of hard liquor. Just saying.
  6. As it turns out, vodka is fun. Make a hole in a watermelon and just pour in vodka in until it’s full. Wait a couple of hours and repeat. Repeat and repeat and repeat until you can. Cut it up and offer to guests. Instant s**tfacedness. Or you could do drunken gummy bears.
  7. Drinks for in-between, DDs – iced tea, hot tea – both super economical. Look in the freezer aisle for frozen juices from concentrate if you have to – dress them up with some fruit. A go-to for me, which is also very responsible (got to make sure the drinkers are getting their ‘tweenies’) is to have a nice big jug/decanter (I have a vintage drink dispenser I received for a gift one year)full of water with lemon slices. It looks super pretty and is thoughtful, without being expensive, at all. You may be able to borrow something like this from a family member or friend. Combined with tea or iced tea – you have your bases covered.

 

Other Budget Party Tricks

Ok, a few more tips just jammed into this paragraph for the outro: get help with cleaning afterwards, preferably from the party attendees, have a party outside if indoors is not an option, always party-proof the place (like remove carpets, house plants, etc), if you’re above 12, do not choose a theme for your party – if you’re under 12, however, you should ask the guests to dress up so you spend $0 for decorations. Also, instead of lame board games you should have an xbox kinect or wii for entertainment (see tip #1).

Just have fun, survive, and remember to never offer to host a party again. Cheers! Bookmark this page and reference it next time you’re looking to throw a party on a budget!

20 Remarkable Tips For Significantly Lowering Your Bills And Renting The Right Apartment

20 Remarkable tips for lowering your bills and renting the right apartment

This is the part 2 of our ‘saving money when moving out’ series. We are listing 20 great tips for lowering your bills and choosing the right apartment for yourself. Get ready for the ultimate list of non-obvious money-saving tricks. This can help you save tons on money on stuff you are already doing and then have some money to save!

It’s time for Thrifty Moving Out series part 2 where I share load of cool tips and advice for first-time movers. The tips are broken down into 3 parts:
Continue reading

22+ Insider Tips For Saving Money On Food And Buying Groceries When You Finally Move Out

22+ Insider tips for saving money on food and buying groceries when you finally move out

Moving out from your parents’ house can be quite a challenge, especially since many parents do a pretty lousy job of introducing their children to the skills they’ll be needing when they’re on their own. But fear not! It’s still perfectly doable even if you’ve been sheltered from the outside world, and even in these economical times.
Continue reading