Save Money at Pick-Your-Own Farms

Unlike a lot of folks, I’ve never considered shopping to be fun or a form of entertainment. I guess that’s because I was born with the cheapskate gene, and it’s rumored to take the jaws-of-life to get my wallet out of my back pocket. But the other weekend my wife and I went on a shopping excursion of sorts that I really must admit was both entertaining and a good value. We spent a sunny Saturday at a pick-your-own strawberry …

A Lifetime of Debt

Growing up 40 years ago, one of my favorite pastimes was playing The Game of Life, the classic Milton Bradley board game that takes players through their simulated lives – from college to retirement – with make believe jobs, families, and other life-changers all along the way.  It was always a lot fun to play, and it gave me a chance to fantasize a little about what my own real-life future might be like. The other day I ran across …

When Frugality Goes Wrong

As a professional cheapskate, I have an allergic reaction whenever I pay more for something than I think it’s really worth. But there have been a few times when I’ve attempted to economize and later regretted it. Here’s my Top Six List of Frugality Gone Wrong: Wimpy power tools: As a general rule of thumb, I’ve found that it always pays to buy the best tools you can afford at the time.  This is true not only of power tools, …

Turn Your Car Payment Into a Savings Strategy

I noticed an interesting article from the Detroit Free Press about a trend that doesn’t bode well for the auto industry, but speaks to America’s new frugality. It also reminded me of an old cheapskate tip for building your savings or retirement accounts in relatively painless fashion. The article discussed new research by the Michigan-based firm R.L. Polk that shows that Americans who buy new cars are now keeping those cars for almost six years. Having never bought a new car …

5 Bargains to Avoid

With everybody interested in saving a buck (or 20) these days, “bargains,” “sales,” and “special money saving offers” are popping up everywhere. Check your newspaper, smartphone, computer screen, or even the advertisements for cut-rate car insurance plastered on the toll booths on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I just saw those for the first time this past weekend. Sure, there are a lot of true bargains out there. But the consumer landscape during these tough times is also rife with “deals” that …

5 Frugal Tips for the February Gardener

As the last full month of winter, February always reminds me of a houseguest who has officially overstayed his welcome. I’m ready for springtime, and more than ready to get outside in my garden and exercise my atrophying green thumbs. But over the years I’ve learned that even in February, in many parts of the country, there are some yard and garden chores you can already get cracking on. Best of all, by getting an early start you can save …