Favorite Money Saving Websites – Our Thrifty Friends

Thrifty Friends Saving Money Icon.

Our priority at MoneySmartFamily is to help readers improve their finances and we partner with companies that could help you. Some links on this page are from our partners. Read how we earn money here.

This page is full of links to some of our favorite thrifty friends’ websites & frugal Resources!

When you hang out with thrifty friends you’ll pick up new and better ways to save money. We love hanging out, sharing and learning from the people on this page and hope you will too!

This list includes:

Living on A Dime – Frugality to the Max!

Living on a Dime Banner Image

If you’re looking for another way to save more money and to be encouraged to make thrifty living fun. Visit our friends Mike and Tawra Kellum and Tawra’s super thrifty mom, Jill Cooper over at LivingOnADime.com.

We’ve known Mike and Tawra for many years and they are the real thing. They work hard, live what they teach and are incredibly transparent and genuine in what they share.

Tawra Kellum and her mother Jill Cooper are a dynamic duo of frugality and have authored numerous ebooks about saving money.

Jill the Single Mom

As a single mom, Jill raised two kids on a limited income without giving up their comfort or security.

Tawra & Mike Get out of Debt

When Tawra married Mike, they struggled to raise their small family, but by applying the lessons learned from Jill (Tawra’s mom), they were able to pay off $20,000 worth of debt in five years. They did all of this with an average income of $22,000.

Tawra and Jill now operate the popular Web site LivingOnADime.com. Their website contains many money saving articles and videos that you can access for free.

You can also browse their extensive library of ebook deals here. Tawra and Jill are the real deal — they live what they teach. It may not be flashy, but they know how to make their money stretch until it begs for mercy!

Living On A Dime Ebook ad.

Get Two Great MoneySaving Books

Their best-selling book is called “Dining on a Dime” and has sold more than 500,000 copies. It’s really a cookbook that is full of money saving tips too.  If you want even more grocery money-saving tips, check out our book, “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half.” It’s chocked full of time and money saving ideas that will help you slash what your spending at the grocery store.

Popular Living on a Dime Videos

Here’s one of their videos on how to make homemade laundry detergent.

Here’s a second video featuring Jill Cooper on how to fold a fitted sheet (more than 16 million views)

The Kellams are now doing a Facebook Live video-cast – 3 times per week so you’ll want to subscribe to their channel and tune in.

Stretcher.com – A Great Place to Learn to Make Your Money Go Further

The Dollar Stretcher logo

Our friend Gary Foreman has been helping people save money for years. His DollarStretcher newsletter/website reaches more than 300,000 people each week.

Gary has been a financial planner, but in recent years has moved from advising people about how to make more money to help them use the money they have more wisely. He firmly believes that saving money is as good, if not better than earning more.

You can search his website of over 6000 money saving articles on just about every frugal topic you can imagine. Steve and Annette have authored several articles on Gary’s website.

A few years ago we did a video interview with Gary about how we paid our home off in 9 years. You can watch that interview here.

Catch Your Drips — Save your floors and your money

The original Drip Catcher Logo.

No more sticky floors

Years ago, Annette’s dad, Syl Meola retired from a sales job in the electronics industry and took a job at his local church as the head of the maintenance department — that’s right, he became a janitor. Syl is the consummate organizer and master of efficiency. He can fit more stuff in a small space than anyone we know. One thing he noticed was that whenever there was a reception or some sort of meeting where drinks were served from a coffee pot or cooler, inevitably some of the liquid ended up dripping on the floor. The standard “solution” was to put a stack of paper towels on the floor to absorb the drips. But Syl wasn’t satisfied with the standard solution. He knew there had to be a better way.

Inventing a Solution

Two aluminum coffee pots sitting on white original drip catchers at a banquet.He spent months trying different solutions: bowls on the floor, buckets, and pans. None of them worked. He started doodling, sketching, thinking and finally started building prototypes.

Eventually, his idea crystallized into an incredibly simple, but effective concept: The Original Drip Catcher.

It’s an inexpensive way to eliminate this sticky and messy problem and to keep your floors and carpets clean.

After years of selling thousands of these products by word of mouth, we’ve finally helped him to put up a simple website to let the world know about his invention.

Who Uses Drip Catchers?

Places like churches, hotels, conference centers and even retirement homes are now using Syl’s invention. If you are part of a club or association who regularly has large events where drinks are served, check out Syl’s website.

The photo above was shot in May of 2009 at Syl and Carol’s 50th Wedding Anniversary party — of course, the church where the party was held used Drip Catchers!

Visit Syl’s website: www.OriginalDripCatcher.com

Coffee Pot Photo Courtesy of Steve Economides

Savers Thrift Department Stores – A Place We Love to Shop

Savers - Super Savers Club Card

If you haven’t shopped at Savers or Value Village, you ought to give it a try. With over 330 stores across the US, Canada and in Australia there’s likely one near you.

Saving Families Money for more than 50 Years!

They have been in business since 1957 and in every community they serve, they select one charity to benefit. They buy clothes and household items that the charity collects by the ton. The charity doesn’t have to market the goods, all they have to do is collect them. It’s a great deal for everyone involved.

Savers Stores are Super Organized

Savers stores are always neat and organized. Clothes are organized by type and size within each size. They even hang their slacks and pants differently so you can more easily see what the tops and pockets look like. Their stores don’t smell like the typical thrift store because they use air fresheners strategically located in different spots on the sales floor.

Savers Has Special Discount Days

Savers has special deals like 50% off of a particular colored price tag several days each week, $2 day one day each week and 50 percent-off sales throughout the year. If you bring in a bag of donations, they’ll give you a discount card, and once filled it will give you 30 percent off of your entire purchase. We love their colored tags and discount days (check with your local store and see what colored tags are discounted on which days). They also offer a senior discount on certain days – again, check with your local store to find out when. Here is a current list of Sale Days in Arizona – other states may vary.

Here is a current list of Sale Days in Arizona – other states may vary. Unfortunately, in Arizona, Savers has slowly been closing stores due to the growth of Goodwill. But from talking to their headquarters office, Savers is growing in other markets and the company is doing well.

savers thrift store sales day flyer.

We love the half price tag days, but as we get older, we’re really appreciating the 30 percent off Senior Days on Tuesday. Check your local store as their sales dates may vary from this photo. Visit the Savers.com website to find a store near you.

Savers Club Card

And the best thing is that they offer their email list subscribers/card members advanced notice and access to VIP 50% off sale days. We get to shop one day early and scoop up deals before the general public. Learn more about the club card here. If you want a Savers Club Card you can pick it up for free inside one of their stores.

Six Dollar Family

Stacy Barr is the face and brain of the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar FamilyMore to come

Hillbilly Housewife

Learn about Susanne, and HillbillyHousewife.com here. More to come.

Other Personal Finance Website Friends

Whether you’re paying off a mountain or a molehill of debt or if you’ve conquered debt and are working on building your emergency fund and fine-tuning your budget, there are a number of good sites that can help you reach your goals.

Some of our personal favorites include:

YNAB – A Better Way to Control Your Spending

The more control you have over your money, the more money you’ll have.

This is the best computer-based budgeting system out there. YNAB.com (YouNeedABudget) uses the same system we describe in our book. It’s better than Quicken and MS Money, both of which only track your spending after the fact.

YNAB helps you save money in advance of your purchases. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you know that the money is in the bank before you spend. You’ll have so much more confidence and peace, and you’ll probably spend much less too. YNAB claims that you’ll save at least 10% by utilizing their system.

We’ve been using a system like YNAB since 1982 and we’ve never had a car payment, paid off our first house in 9 years and paid cash for everything else. Budgeting isn’t a restriction — it creates financial freedom. (read how we paid our mortgage off quickly)

You can try YNAB for 30 days without a charge. They have lots of free videos and almost daily live training sessions so you can get up and running quickly.

Blissful and Domestic – Danielle Wagasky

Blissful and Domestic logo

If you’re into making your home beautiful and your family blissful, you’ve got to hang out with Danielle. She’s so much fun and so creative. Her writing style is super casual and her ideas are awesome. Whether it’s a recipe or redecorating her kitchen, you’ll be inspired by her energy.

We first became aware of her blog several years back when an article ran in business insider where she credited our book, “America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money” with changing her family’s life. Since that time we’ve corresponded and actually met up with Danielle, her husband Jason and two of their kids when we were visiting relatives in Las Vegas.

Just this year, Danielle and her family of five moved to southern Arizona where her husband, Jason, is working for the border patrol.

Here’s the news story that ran about Danielle and Jason’s frugal journey.

How a Family of Four Manages to Live Well on Just $14,000 Per Year

Some people doubt that Danielle and Jason can honestly live this way. What do you think? See the comments at the bottom.

In the years since the recession, the median household income in the U.S. has dropped to just over $50,000, while fixed costs like health care, higher education, and housing have only soared. Now imagine trying to support a family of four on a fraction of that income.

It’s a reality that stay-at-home wife and mother of two Danielle Wagasky has lived for the last four years. And, perhaps a little surprisingly, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wagasky, 28, lives with her her husband, Jason, 31, and their two young children in a three-bedroom family home in Las Vegas, Nevada. While Jason, a member of the U.S. Army, completes his undergraduate studies, the family’s only source of income is the $14,000 annual cost of living allowance he receives under the G.I. Bill. Despite all odds, the family has barely any credit card debt, no car payment, and no mortgage to speak of.

Wagasky has been sharing her journey to living meaningfully and frugally on her blog, Blissful and Domestic, since 2009.

She was kind enough to chat with BI and tell us how she makes it work.

Wagasky finds inspiration from the library to tips from readers on her blog.

“My husband told me he’d heard about this book, [America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money],” she said. “We talked about it over the phone and I read it and thought how it could apply to us.”

The couple had a single savings goal in mind –– scraping together $30,000 for a downpayment on their home in their native Henderson, Nevada.

The mindless spending was out, and Wagasky came up with a budget she could make work. “I changed the way I was grocery shopping and started working my way up, ” she said.

She stopped eating out and learned how to cook.

Wagasky barely knew her way around a kitchen when she started her money makeover.

Now she’s an avid cookbook collector (she checks them out from libraries or asks for them as gifts to save), and it’s one of the simplest ways she’s managed to cut back on spending.

With a $7 bread-maker she scored at a local thrift shop, she never spends on store bought slices. She’s not shy about professing her love for wholesale stores like Costco, which is her go-to source for baking ingredients.

Everything in the home is either hand-sewn and or made from scratch.

“Everything must be budgeted,” Wagasky wrote in a June entry on her blog. “From family outings to toiletries to clothes purchases. It must be budgeted.”

And she takes Do-It-Yourself to the extreme. Everything from laundry soap and clothing to the kitchen her husband installed in their new home was either crafted by hand or thrifted.

The family swapped cable for Netflix and Hulu.

When it comes to cutting costs, cable was an easy luxury to part ways with.

With two children aged 6 and 8 to entertain, Wagasky invests $14.99 in a Netflix plan and recently added Hulu to the mix.

The family also uses a simple antenna to pick up basic cable channels.

She goes to the grocery store once per month, pays cash, and never goes over budget.

With a single source of fixed income, there’s no room for impulse purchases in the Wagasky household.

They budget $400 for groceries each month and that’s it.

“Once that $400 is gone, it is gone,” she writes. “There are no extra shopping trips made because there is no more money.”

They are a cash-only household but keep a credit card for emergencies.

Wagasky said they have no credit debt, but they do charge emergency expenses on plastic when absolutely necessary.

“We recently had some medical bills we had to pay, and we were able to take our savings and pay those down as fast as we could,” she said.

They fill up gas tanks once a month and combine errands when possible.

With gas prices creeping higher each all the time, the Wagaskys watch their mileage like hawks.

That means combining errands together and doing all they can to make one tank of gas last a month.

“We know we don’t get to drive and visit family often, so when we do we cherish it,” she wrote in a blog entry.

“We don’t go just for an hour, we stay and visit and even run errands that may be close to where extended family members live. We try to remember that when the gas is gone…it is gone.”

They paid for both of their cars in cash and have no car payments.

After Wagasky’s husband left active duty and started school, the couple knew they would only have $14,000 per year to live on.

So they paid off the $8,000 he owed on his truck while he was earning more and they could afford the expense.

They also bought a van, which they saved $10,000 for initially and were able to pay the remaining $12,000 owed within a year.

Having zero car payments is a nice relief.

She skips all kiddie snacks in favor of healthier, cheaper DIY options.

Like anyone with simple math skills, Wagasky was quick to realize how much cash she was wasting on prepackaged snacks for her children.

She cut them out completely and whips up homemade granola bars and trail mix instead.

If she can freeze food, she will.

If you’re on a tight food budget, your freezer will become your best friend.

Wagasky chops vegetables and fruits and freezes them for a month. She actually does the same for dairy products like cheese, butter, and yogurt.

“I am able to freeze about 8 gallons of milk each month,” she writes. “They sit at the bottom of my freezer and we thaw them out when we need them.” Baked goods get the same chilly treatment.

She uses a food co-op to save on fresh produce.

Wagasky was dubious about joining a food co-op, but after three months, she realized she would never beat the savings or quality she found.

Food co-ops pool membership fees together in order to fund a monthly harvest that’s distributed at designated pick-up points.

A couple of times per month, Wagasky gets a basketful of in-season produce for $15 –– way better bargain than she’d ever find in stores.

They used Nevada’s declining housing market to score a cheap foreclosure.

By the time Wagasky’s husband came home from Iraq, they had managed to scrape together the $30,000 they needed for a downpayment on a home.

“But we decided the best option would be not to have a mortgage payment at all,” she said. “We found a fixer-upper that didn’t have a kitchen … and we paid cash.”

Price tag: $28,000. With the leftover cash, they were able to finish the kitchen and install wood flooring throughout the house.

The Garage Sale Gal

Lynda Hammond is a former TV news anchor who has left the media rat race in search of treasure in the garages of America. She now goes by the name of Garage Sale Gal. She’s developed a nationwide website to list garage sales on. She also writes lots of articles about the finer points of hosting a garage sale or buying smarter at garage sales.

Linda Hammond the Garage Sale Gal

We’ve had the opportunity to visit with Linda a few times and found that she’s a real, down-to-earth person who thrives on finding a great deal. She’s enthusiastic about life and helping others discover treasure in their neighborhoods.

Lynda visited our garage sale a few years ago and wrote about it. She was a little intimidated to come to our house, thinking she wouldn’t measure up.

Here are Lynda’s 10 tips for successful Garage Saleing

Organizing a Garage Sale

  1. Get the word out. Advertise your sale. Internet sites are especially hot right now for garage sales. Try GSalr.com
  2. Make colorful signs that can’t be missed. Use bright colors such as pink, orange, red or green. Don’t put too many details on your sign. We can’t read an address and time when we’re driving by at 30 MPH. A large sign, with “SALE” and an arrow pointing us in the right direction, is perfect.
  3. Make your sale enticing and make the savings visible. Display your treasures on tables at least waist-high. Your items will be easier to see. Group things together: Kitchen items, toys, beauty items, furniture, electronics, etc. should all be together. When people are looking for specific things they’ll go right to their area of interest.
  4. Make your sale colorful. The human eye is drawn to color. I’m sure you’ve seen folks drive up to your sale, look and drive on, not bothering to get out. Well, in order to coax people out and into your sale have colorful items nicely and neatly displayed. It can be anything: clothes, dishes, household goods, etc. If you get them in your driveway chances are they’ll buy something.
  5. Have plenty of change. There have been many sales I’ve visited where one person holding the sale has left to go to the store for change. Prepare the night before getting small bills and loose change. It’s not uncommon for your first garage sale buyer to hand you a $20 bill.

Shopping at Garage Sales

  1. Rise and shine. The early bird gets the worm. This is so true when it comes to garage sales. Try to have that cup of coffee, dress and be out the door by 6:00 AM! I know it’s early but if you want the best selection you have to get there before anyone else. I’ve gone to sales at 7:00 AM, asked for specific items and was told: “I just sold that”. So, I’ve learned to get out early.
  2. Know how to bargain. If you see an item you’re interested in ask them if they’ll “take anything less”, or “what’s your best price”. Don’t be shy. You’re expected to haggle over the price at a garage sale – hey that’s half the fun. One rule of thumb. Don’t ask for a lower price on anything $1 or less. I once asked a woman if she’d take a dime for an item marked .25..(a quarter!). I still can’t get the look on her face out of my mind. (She rolled her eyes!) She thought I was crazy. While I did get it for a dime (a little Santa Claus candle holder) I’ve regretted it ever since.
  3. Look for neighborhood sales. Often times you can hit 100 sales in one small area. Think about the community. If it’s a newer neighborhood with families, keep in mind the items for sale will be different than what you may find at a retirement community for empty nesters. So, if you’re looking for toys go to the family sales. Is it antiques you’re interested in? Check out older, more established areas and retirement communities.
  4. If you love it buy it. I often hear stories of people who let a great find get away. The reasons for “not” buying something can make sense at the time… no place to put it, it’s the wrong color, etc. But if you love something you’ll make it work in your home. If you find a cabinet you just have to have but you don’t like the color, use your imagination, give it a coat of paint. If you don’t have room for it now, hold your own sale and get rid of some things you’re not using to “make” room for it. You’ll be glad you did.
  5. Dress comfortably and bring water. I usually wear sweats, tennis shoes and a hat (a 3-TV hat, of course)! A lot of people sell water at their sales. But you can save your money by being prepared. Bring several bottles of water. In the Summer heat in Arizona, you might even have a cooler handy to keep water cool.

For more tips on finding great deals at garage sales read Linda’s book

Or get a copy of her book The Garage Sale Gal’s Guide to Making Money here.

Discounted Newspaper Subscriptions

If you’re looking for a way to save on your newspaper subscription, check out Discounted Newspapers.com. They offer deals on daily delivery of hundreds of newspapers. There are two catches to this deal:

  1. After your introductory, discounted price, you’ll have to either pay a higher price or cancel your subscription.
  2. You can only have this deal one every 6 months or so. Each newspaper has different rules, but they usually don’t allow you to re-subscribe at the discounted rate unless you haven’t been a customer for several weeks.

If you want to read about some other great companies with excellent customer service, click the link provided.

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