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Five treasures that foster frugality

By on May 20, 2011

Behind every frugal person is an item or two that boosts their frugality. Spending money to enhance frugal living might seem like backward thinking, but there are many free or low-cost items that can help you save time or money. Many pay for themselves in very little time, too. Some items that top the list are coupon organizers, food storage containers, cookbooks, sewing machine and hair clippers. What’s your favorite frugal treasure?
Here are a few more examples:



If you haven’t visited your library recently, it might be well worth the trip. Many libraries are offering much more than books. Many of them offer toy lending, book clubs and reviews, facilities rental, games, crafts, DVDs, audio books, fun family events such as movie nights and special guests, coffee bars, homework help, art rental and book sales. One reader, Darlene B., from New York, says: “I love my library card and would be lost without it. It’s definitely the good plastic to have in your wallet.”


Some households have fancy cooking gadgets and no one actually cooks in the kitchen. Frugal kitchens contain practical, money-saving appliances such as a dehydrator, freezer, slow cooker, wok, toaster oven, grain mill and meat slicer, to name a few. Thrift in the kitchen isn’t a lost art for many families. Another reader, from Heidi, from Greece, says: “My pressure cooker saves water, electricity and time, and allows me to cook cheaper foods easily (dry chickpeas cooked in eight minutes).”


If you’re not handy, you can still learn many DIY tasks to help you save money. You can’t do even basic repairs without proper tools, so investing in at least a few is money well spent. While some jobs might be best left to professionals, an investment in quality tools means you don’t have to go running out to replace a cheap hammer or screwdriver each time you need to use one.


The savings can be considerable, and it’s a great option even if you use it only some of the time to dry clothes. You can make your own PVC drying rack. For directions, visit


You can get the exercise you need on a budget at home. Another reader, Anne, from South Carolina, adds: “We have collected various items over the years for particular goals at the time or specific exercise programs (like P90X), so now we’ve got:

Exercise ball
2 yoga mats
yoga block
resistance bands — set of five
jump rope
5-pound weights

And we have My Fitness Coach for Wii. We also have a FitDeck (, which is really cool. It’s a deck of cards, each with an exercise you can do without equipment, so you can do up to an hour of working out.”

Don’t forget walking, using stairs or a step, exercise DVDs or TV programs. Or visit Web sites such as Prevention ( or the American Council on Exercise ( Shop secondhand sources for your fitness needs, too. Another reader, Polly, from Pennsylvania, adds: “Every summer people sell their I’m-going-to-get-fit fantasies for a song. After Christmas, they set their sites on losing weight and getting in shape for their New Years resolution. They went out and purchased expensive machines, gambling that since they spent so much money, they wouldn’t think of not using them. But, like most New Years resolutions, getting fit was long forgotten by February and these machines have sat gathering dust and becoming clothes racks. This summer, yards will be littered with treadmills, total fitness machines, exercise bikes, etc.”


photo by onthedotcreations


  1. Rita

    5/21/2011 at 7:25 am

    Where did you find those beautiful coupon holders. So pretty they would be a joy to use.

    • amy

      5/28/2012 at 11:34 am

      Hi Rita!
      Im not sure where the ones in the photo are from, but I recently purchased one similar from a website called ETSY. They have lots of choices, all hand made too! Most are very reasonable in price.


  2. Kate

    3/3/2012 at 3:45 am

    I don’t know where those ones came from, but you can find some really nice ones on etsy. : )

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