Thursday, May 09, 2013

Blog Recommendation: A Girl Called Jack

A blog out of the UK is the ultimate in frugal necessity - A Girl Called Jack. She's a young woman who is very determined, and some of her posts - especially when talking about the struggles to feed her very young son - are heartwrenching. Very powerful reading. I just read her most recent blog post to discover that she has a book deal with a major publisher in the UK - very exciting, indeed!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

5 Ways to Get Free Books

5 Ways to Get Free Books
To say that I'm a book lover is putting it altogether too mildly...I adore books! (My always overflowing book shelves attest to this fact.) If you're like me, and you love to have a book always at hand to delve in to, then you'll need to find some ways to get free (or very cheap) books.

1. Amazon - If you have any sort of website or blog, then having a few Amazon affiliate links is a great way to earn Amazon gift cards, which you can use to order books for free! I keep track of the books I'd really love to get and then when I have enough gift cards, I order away, with no guilt whatsoever.
2. Secondhand books - You can just go in and buy a book cheap - such as when your favorite secondhand book store has a sale on. Or, to get books for free at secondhand book shops, take your own used books in to get credits which you can then use for the new (to you) books that you really want.
3. Hold a book swap - If your friends and family are fellow book lovers, then have a book swap night. Brew up some tea and coffee, and invite everyone to bring themselves, their books that they'd like to trade in, and a snack to share. It turns a social gathering into something useful - a way for everyone to trade books and get new books to enjoy.
4. eBay - Now, check first to see if you'll earn enough on eBay to get true value out of your old books. Sometimes it makes sense (especially with textbooks - you can earn some good money selling old textbooks), but other times you'll find better ways to get or sell old books. So, you can earn money on your old books, which you can then put towards buying new books!
5. Ask to borrow - If your friend tells you about the amazing book they read, simply ask if you can borrow it to read it, too. But, don't be a book miser - be just as willing to lend out your read books, too, and it'll work for everyone.
6. One extra - keep an eye open for freebies. In the apartment complex where I live, I notice that sometimes people who are moving out will simply leave a small box of books out near the mailboxes, knowing that someone will get use out of them. It's a much better thing to do than throwing good books out, and if you keep your eyes open, you just might score some great new reads without paying a single dime.

Okay book lovers - tell us how YOU manage to score free books in the comments section, below.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Frugal Food - 5 Ways to Get Cheaper Produce

5 Ways to Get Cheaper - Frugal! - Produce

We all know that even on a frugal budget, we still need to eat healthy foods. Of course, that means that we need to include as many fruits and veggies as we possibly can. But, what is a frugalite to do? It seems that fruit and vegetables are becoming more and more expensive all the time (along else!) So, here are five new frugal tips on how to buy fruit and veg for less.

  1. Grow it. For some of us, this isn't an option. But, for most of us we can grow at least a few fruits and veggies to supplement our food supplies. I'm a (happy!) apartment dweller, and some years I've had some success with growing veggies in containers. If you have a yard of your own, then a garden is the obvious way to grow your produce. Aim to produce the veggies and fruits that you can easily freeze, can, or otherwise keep on hand for longer.
  2. Check for markdowns. Get familiar with when your local supermarket marks down their produce. (This is not the time to be shy, frugalites! Ask the workers in the produce department when the produce gets reduced.) Certain items - like bananas - are marked down often, since they go off quickly. Bananas can easily be frozen in chunks for smoothies. Or, mash those nasty bananas in 1-cup portions in freezer bags and you're prepared at any time to whip up some fresh and yummy banana bread or muffins. Other overripe fruits like pears or peaches can similarly be mashed and are excellent for baking.
  3. Get stuff from friends and family. No, I'm not exactly suggesting that you become a big moocher. (hardy har har.) But, when your pals have extras, don't be embarrassed to take it, and gladly. Or, you could do a swap.
  4. Farmers markets - sometimes. It just depends on where you live. Sometimes, farmers markets are a fantastic way to save money on your fresh produce. Other times, farmers markets are actually far more expensive than the grocery store. This is where knowing your prices really helps - you'll know quickly if you can find true bargains at local markets.
  5. Stock up on sales items. Fresh berries, peaches, and other fruits are great when frozen. Again - these make for quick and handy options for smoothies. (Minus the $5 price tag that most smoothie joints charge!) Ditto for veggies on sale...if the price is fantastic, then stock up and freeze or can those little vitamin-packed babies up! (I'll be totally honest -- I'm not a canner by any means, but even I can freeze with some finesse.)
There you have it! Five ways to inspire you to save on the healthiest ingredients in our diets - fruits and veggies. Have some more ideas? Post a comment!