When you think of the word “cheapskate,” you probably think of some crusty old person with a wallet that creaks when it opens.
But I’m not really like that. You see, I believe in spending money on things that have value. I believe that you should buy things that you will use again and again. My favorite things to buy are the things that I can use to save money.
So this list is a collection of things that even the most frugal of frugal will find to be well worth the money.
You can find free spreadsheet templates to help you budget. You can use a free online program like Mint.
But I have found that You Need a Budget (YNAB) is worth every single penny. YNAB is a robust, easy-to-use program for your computer or mobile device that will help you set up a budget and stick to it. I love that I don’t have to provide any of my personal account information (like account numbers and passwords) to this program to use it, so my personal finance info stays safe. And YNAB’s website is chock full of useful information to help you understand everything you need to know about budgeting. You need a budget. You need this software, too!
Stuff for the kitchen
One of the best ways to save money is to cook more meals at home. Investing in quality equipment can make the job easier, and in some cases, help you save even more money. Here are a few of my favorite products for the kitchen:
Slow cooker. A slow cooker is indispensible to a frugal kitchen! You can use it to cook a huge amount of food in advance and it turns cheaper cuts of meat into tender dinners. No more rushing through the drive-thru when you have a slow cooker. Just set it and forget it! I have several Crock-Pots in different sizes and I love them all.
Food processor. Sure, you could use a knife. But you could also save time and hassle. If I’m cooking in bulk, a food processor makes chopping and dicing a cinch! Make sure you get a food processor with a shredding blade (I got this Black & Decker Food Processor for a gift and I love it). You can easily grate cheese and veggies (think about all that zucchini from your garden!) without skinning your knuckles on a grater.
Vacuum Sealer. Buying meat when it’s on sale in bulk and freezing it for later saves money. Cooking a large batch of food at once and putting it in the freezer into meal-size portions for later saves money. Tossing that same food because you didn’t properly seal it will cost you. I adore my FoodSaver vacuum sealer because it does a great job of eliminating freezer burn. I use it to package up everything from meat on sale to my garden harvest, and it lasts a long time in the freezer. I also love using the FoodSaver Wide-Mouth Jar Sealer to store things like dried beans in glass jars. Watch for coupons and sales on the bags and rolls, and you’ll find the FoodSaver is worth the investment.
CoverMate. There are times when you are bringing a food item to a potluck and you really don’t want to use Cling Wrap because it never seems to stick to anything except itself and it always gets wadded up in a ball and thrown away. CoverMate Stretch-to-Fit Food Covers are reusable and fit snugly on your bowls. You can even throw the covers in the top rack of your dishwasher. (Oh, and in a pinch, you can use them as shower caps!)
Books and Cookbooks
Sure you could check the books out of the library for free, but I find there are a few books I refer to again and again. That makes them “shelf-worthy,” in my opinion.
Consider adding these to your collection:
- Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, & Keep More of What You Make by Carrie Rocha – An inspiring book to help you get in the right headspace to change your financial situation.
- The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn – Full of inspiration to help you make the most of what you have.
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey – A great introduction to eliminating debt.
- Live Your Life for Half the Price by Mary Hunt – Solid money-saving advice, including some great information on buying vehicles.
- The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase – A fabulous cookbook loaded with tips for trimming your grocery bill.
- Black & Decker The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair – A great introduction to basic home repairs with plenty of full-color photos and illustrations to help you.
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