The Ultimate Cheapskate

Jeff Yeager is an AARP savings expert. He spent 24 years managing nonprofit groups before becoming a freelance writer, public speaker and media personality. He wrote "Don't Throw That Away!" "The Cheapskate Next Door" and "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches." His website is www.UltimateCheapskate.com; connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Holiday Shopping: Will You Spend Less?

This could very well be the year when the Grinch steals Christmas, at least in terms of the gift-giving intentions of some adults. According to a new poll from the personal finance website GoBankingRates.com, 40 percent of some 1,500 survey respondents say they won’t be buying any holiday gifts this year. Blame the economy and the shaky finances of many Americans. The holidays only add to their stress and here’s why: 63 percent of those polled admit they haven’t set …

Stoke the Flames With These Fireplace Tips

In many parts of the country, it’s time to stoke up the fireplace or woodstove for a little extra heat. Here are some hearth-warming tips to keep in mind: Heating With Wood Can Save: According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, burning one cord of wood generates the heat equivalent of  200 gallons to 250 gallons of fuel oil. Based on our most recent fuel oil bills and the cost of a cord of wood from a firewood supplier, that much …

Programmable Thermostats: Savings or Not?

A couple of years ago I wrote an article for AARP about simple ways to reduce the cost of heating your home. After reading it, my wife promptly added a number of the energy-saving tips I’d suggested to my “honey-do” list, including installing three programmable thermostats around our house. The good news was that the new thermostats were inexpensive and easy to install. We found a three-pack on sale at a home improvement center for  $70, and, much to my …

Solar Panels: Rent, Buy or Skip?

Whether you’re concerned about saving the environment or just interested in saving yourself a few bucks, equipping your house with a solar energy system is an interesting, albeit rather complicated, proposition to consider. The cost of installing a residential solar system has fallen dramatically over the years. Now a number of companies have started programs to lease, instead of sell, solar energy equipment to homeowners, some in partnership with home improvement centers including Lowes and Home Depot. Sign up for …

Catch Your Storm-Water Rebate

Rarely does a piece of mail from our local county government contain good news. It’s typically a property tax bill or a notice that our trash-collection fees are going up again. But the other day I received news from the county and it made my inner cheapskate sit up and take notice. Like an increasing number of counties and municipalities across the country, our county has initiated a Rain Check Rebate Program, designed to encourage property owners to take steps …

Food for Thought: Ways to Curb Lunchtime Spending

Planning to have lunch out with your coworkers? Chew on this: A poll of 1,005 adults found that, on average, we eat lunch at restaurants nearly twice a week at about $10 a pop – or about $936 annually, according to Visa. (And that doesn’t even include coffee-to-go and carryout.) If you were to save that $936 per year and invest it at a 5 percent annual rate of return, over the course of 30 years you’d have an extra …