Cover image for Yankee magazine's living well on a shoestring : 1,501 ingenious ways to spend less for what you need and have more for what you want
Title:
Yankee magazine's living well on a shoestring : 1,501 ingenious ways to spend less for what you need and have more for what you want
Publication Information:
Dublin, NH : Yankee Books, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
viii, 392 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
Added Uniform Title:
Yankee (Dublin, N.H.)
ISBN:
9780899093802
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In Living Well on a Shoestring , you'll find more than 1,500 practical money-saving techniques for every aspect of your life, from getting out of debt and finding money for retirement to decorating on a budget and cutting pet-care costs. The penny-pinching editors of Yankee magazine know firsthand that you can learn to live well while staying well within your means. And now they're on a campaign to show you how it can be done!

Inside these covers, you'll discover the four essential keys to spending wisely and stretching your income: knowing budget basics, getting out of and avoiding debt, increasing your savings, and living within your income. You'll also get all the information you need to build a solid financial foundation for living the good life, including tax-trimming ideas and a list of easy ways to increase your earnings.

Once you've mastered the four basic elements that will help you transform your spending style without settling for less, you're ready for the nitty-gritty, penny-pinching, day-to-day details of consistent and mindful saving. Check out the scores of ingenious ideas jam-packed into chapters like Frugal Lawn and Garden Care, Thrifty Ways to Dress Well, Spending Less for Quality Health Care, Saving on Electronics and Small Appliances, and Cutting Transportation Costs.

This book offers hundreds of tried-and-true tips for leading a thrifty lifestyle. Need supplies for your home office? Keep your eyes peeled for businesses that are closing or relocating. Want to lower your auto insurance rate? Ask about hidden discounts that your insurance company may not be revealing up front. In the market for a new bicycle? Shop in late September or early October, just after the industry's largest trade show-- and don't be afraid to barter.

Sprinkled throughout these pages are entertaining real-life "It Worked for Me" success stories and top-notch recommendations from "The Yankee Miser." Perfect for skimming or reading cover to cover-- you may have trouble putting it down-- Living Well on a Shoestring is a comprehensive, information-packed volume that guarantees you'll have more money in your pocket at the end of each and every day.

More than two million devoted readers agree that the editors of Yankee 0 magazine are the most trusted authorities on the art of living well on a shoestring-- after all, it's a Yankee tradition!


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One LIVING AND ACTING FRUGALLY WHAT FRUGALITY ISN'T     We've long suspected that Yankee frugality can get in your blood and stay there long after you, or your family, has moved to another area of the country. But now we have proof.     Oh, it's not empirical evidence. But we do have Bob Kennedy, contributing writer Rose Kennedy's father. When it comes to living well on less, Bob is the quintessential Yankee. About 20 years ago, when he found some navy hatch covers at a salvage yard, for example, he bought them up for a few bucks apiece, refinished them, and used them to top "arty" coffee tables his adult children still cherish. For years, he was known as "the watch man," because he bought a machine that would wash watch parts and used it to fix hundreds of broken watches people sold or gave to him--all at a fraction of the cost of buying new ones. When his seven daughters wanted to have their ears pierced in the 1970s, Bob found out how much the jeweler was charging, then went out and purchased his own piercing gun. He did the job himself--seven for the price of two. After a Big Lots discount department store came to his area, he never purchased cereal, bread, light bulbs, or wrapping paper at retail prices again--which allowed him to buy extra to give to the local food pantry.     Most of Bob's strategies never made it into this book because they aren't things just anyone can do, but interestingly enough, his name and ideas kept coming up in our conversations as we worked to define Yankee frugality. Interesting because Bob has lived his entire life in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It was his father's family that was from Massachusetts. Bob could say he inherited his Yankee frugality, but his example also proves an important point: Yankee-style frugality is about living well on less, not about where you live.     And there are so many other things that frugality is not. It is not cheapness--we're not talking about buying shoddy goods or inflicting twice-used tea bags on your guests. Nor do we suggest cheating and calling it frugality--no taking from other people so you can have more, no lifting of saltshakers from restaurants, towels from hotels, or heirlooms from unsuspecting relatives. No, Yankee frugality means that you ferret out the best deals, the offers that are there for the taking, or the loopholes that work in your favor without slighting anyone else.     There are other habits that the word frugal does not embrace. Try to forget all those great stories about wealthy old friends trying to outmaneuver each other when the tab arrives or the man down the street who'd do anything to avoid tipping the paperboy--they don't have a place in the frugal attitude. Frugality has nothing to do with meanness. In fact, the true spirit of frugality often allows you to be more generous. Whipping up your own batch of sun-dried tomatoes, for example, might allow you to share a jar with several friends--for the price of one tiny package at the gourmet food store. Using cast-off materials for the garden might mean that you can plant twice as much to share.     Sometimes frugality even means planning these "surprise" windfalls. In fact, frugality always has a method behind the madness--going to a free horse show instead of a movie so that you can spend more money on art supplies, for example. There's always a reason for being frugal--even if it's just that the cheaper way is every bit as good as, or even superior to, the more expensive one. But frugality is not synonymous with odd undertakings or bizarre behaviors. Of course, there are probably a few so-called frugal people who have millions of dollars salted away but choose to live on canned beans and wear mismatched shoes and moth-eaten cardigans. But that's not what Yankee frugality aspires to--some penny-pinching ideal regardless of your income. Far from it. The frugal Yankee's goal is to live within your means so you'll have the resources to accomplish what you want to achieve.     Which isn't to say frugality can't be a bit, shall we say, quirky. A few tips we give in later chapters spring to mind--displaying long-stemmed flowers in a rubber boot, for example, or supporting tomatoes with a bra. But these quirks will help you get good results while spending less money--and to show off your resourcefulness and imagination while you're at it.     Unique expressions of frugality remind us that different people are supposed to do the frugality thing differently. Nowhere is it written that to be frugal, you must melt slivers of soap into a new bar or save aluminum foil scraps in a ball. You need not save money at every single opportunity just because you can. If you can afford gourmet coffee from the shop down the street every morning, cable television, or a $300 outfit and that's what you don't want to live without, purchase it with pleasure, and never look back. You won't lose your frugal credentials! Frugality means deciding what you, with your unique values, likes, and dislikes, want most of all. By the same token, when you decide what you must do without to have what you want, do it without complaining. Once you've pinpointed where you can best save or spend, you're well on your way to thinking and acting like a frugal Yankee. WHAT FRUGALITY IS Now that you know what frugality isn't, you can spend your time reading the next few hundred pages to find out what frugality is . Essentially, it's just what you might think: finding clever ways to save money. And there's no dollar limit. Frugality is for everyone, from the people who use silver saltshakers for holiday candleholders to those who save $5,000 on an automobile by writing letters to clean up their credit rating. Some of us have longer shoestrings than others.     But frugality always involves mindfulness--paying attention to how and where your money goes and making conscious decisions about how to spend it. These tactics can be as simple as keeping a small rock in your car ashtray to weight down that collection of receipts you accumulate riding around town buying gas, fast food, and the like. Or maybe you'll work up to canceling the "automatic payment by credit card" clause on your health club membership, so that when you pay the invoice each month, you can evaluate whether you're getting your money's worth. Or perhaps you'll take the time to call around and make sure that mail-order "bargain" doesn't cost less at a local department store. Whatever the tactics you use, keep in mind that you can't pursue your heart's desire until you know where your money is going--and whether you approve of its destination.     Like Bob Kennedy and his ear-piercing gun, frugality is definitely a matter of doing what you can for yourself rather than paying someone else to do it. Lots of times we overlook the possibilities here--springing for a store-bought housewarming gift, for example, when your friends would appreciate your coming over and breaking down their cardboard moving boxes far more. Or maybe you could forgo the spa and give yourself a foot massage using glass marbles warmed in the microwave.     The other half of the "saving by doing for yourself" equation is knowing what you can't do, or can't do well, and what you don't want to do. Frugality means staying in touch with your emotions, expectations, and shortcomings, so that you know when it's actually frugal to pay a plumber $600 to fix the sink or to pay someone else $50 to clean the house so that you can maintain your sanity.     Although it sounds odd to talk about $600 plumbing bills and frugality in the same sentence, even a top-dollar purchase can fit in with frugality when you are buying, not being sold. What's the difference? Being sold means making purchases that don't make sense for you, buying by habit, or failing to analyze a deal that seems to be too good to be true. Frugality means doing your research, asking questions, and finding less expensive alternatives, even on so-called frivolous purchases such as perfume or a dozen red roses. And this approach definitely applies to everyday expenses, whether you are deciding whether to invest in a Gold Card (which may offer benefits you already have on other policies or cards) or where to buy a small bookshelf (try the lumberyard, not the yuppie home store).     Even after you've made your purchases, you're not off the hook. Frugality also means taking care of what you have so that it lasts longer. When you stretch the life of your possessions, you not only postpone buying new ones but you can frequently avoid paying interest or obnoxious credit card charges. Sometimes making things last is simplicity itself: keeping your hand off the gearshift when cruising, for example, to reduce your chances of having to rebuild the transmission at a cost of several hundred dollars. Other times making things last is a matter of buying high-quality items in the first place. A well-made unlined jacket, for example, should have finished seams. Note, however, that no one is saying that well-made objects have to be new.     One of the most eye-opening aspects of frugality is realizing that small steps can cumulatively make a big difference. See what happens when you start carrying muffins and coffee from home instead of buying them at the cafeteria at work. Or try driving with the windows closed during your commute (and at other times, too), and see if you don't save around 10 percent on your fuel bill. Of course, part of accumulating small savings is keeping track of those savings by turning them into tangible cash or putting them in a piggy bank or individual savings account. If your small efforts are simply absorbed into a mass of spending and saving, it's much more difficult to stay motivated to be frugal.     Last, and most important, frugality doesn't mean you wood-burning stove, which costs virtually nothing to run but helps Dorothy bake peerless pies, cakes, and biscuits.     The McClures live in a small but structurally sound colonial-style house in the mountains that they inherited. Moving somewhere else would mean easier access to jobs, but by avoiding a house payment, they are able to purchase a new vehicle when they want one. Plus, with the mountains in clear view, their church nearby, and a porch swing to sit in when the weather is nice, they can't think of anywhere better to live--or to live well for less. And isn't that what frugality is all about? Copyright © 2000 Yankee Publishing Inc.. All rights reserved.