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The key to cost of living is being frugal. It doesn’t mean cheap, or stingy or being a tightwad. What it does mean is getting the most bang for your buck! Ever heard the saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”? Well, that’s only half of the story. For every penny I spend, up to 15% goes to sales taxes. Then, I have to make 1.5 cents to replace that penny after income taxes gets a hold of it.

So now, I have to earn 1.65 cents for every penny spent just to break even. Whew! That’s a lot of work. Before you check my math and compare it to tax laws in your jurisdiction, just take it as a fact that a penny saved is MORE than a penny earned. Math comments will be ignored – just ask my grade 12 math teacher.

It seems that convenience has become a way of life for many. What frugality we do practice usually amounts to the odd coupon here and there, maybe recycling one or two things, if it’s fashionable, or buying a few more cans of spaghetti sauce if it happens to be on sale. There is oh-so-much more we can do! I think after you’ve spent a few hours or days on these sites, you might catch the frugal bug and enjoy a much lower cost of living by watching your savings grow while your lifestyle remains relatively unchanged.

Creative Frugality

You won’t find any fancy web design or whizbang gizmos here. What you will find are time-tested ways of living a frugal lifestyle that is still fun and exciting. Nancy Twigg started this site quite some time ago. I recall visiting it around 2001 or so. The ideas and tips are timeless, easy to put in to use, and guarantee that you will save money! Creative Frugality also has a sister site called Counting the Cost. Here, you’ll find a newsletter that you can sign up for to receive regular frugal tips and inspiration.

Nancy Twigg and her husband are inspired by their Christian faith. It may not be the same faith that you share, however it has resulted in this treasure trove that anyone can benefit from. Really, you should go.

Festival of Frugality

Honestly, lowering your cost of living is FAR more colourful than these last two logos would suggest. Would it hurt to add a little pizazz? WordPress templates are usually free, folks!

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Design issues aside, the Festival of Frugality is another great resources for money-saving tips. What they do here is act somewhat as an aggregator of articles from other sites as well as adding their own content. I particularly liked the article, If You Must, Do It Smart. Simple, you and your sweetie order a value meal at your local burger in a bag joint. Just buy an extra burger and share the fries and cola! You’re still eating out, but spending less money and consuming less empty calories. It’s a win-win folks!

The publisher of this site also hosts a few other sites along the same lines, such as Carnival of Personal Finance, Carnival of Debt Reduction, Carnival of Money Hacks, and my personal favourite for use of a big word, Carnival of Pecuniary Delights.

Wise Bread

Alright! Finally some colour other than shades of grey!

Even more excellent is that this site was founded by three high-school students in 2006. What did you do in high-school? I can’t remember and I won’t incriminate myself.

The site is part-blog, part-community, part-economic movement, all fun business. The tips here aren’t all one-size-fits all. They talk about more than just saving on groceries and back-to-school supplies. You’ll find people sharing tips on less expensive ways to get designer clothes, inexpensive passport photo’s, and contrarian tips like buying your halloween costume now for next year.

This site is fast becoming a favourite of mine, because of its extensive frugality tips, and because it has other large sections on Career and Income, Personal Finance, Life Hacks and Deals and Coupons.

There they are, three of the top sites that can help you lower your cost of living. It isn’t too late to do so and it will help you weather out this economic storm. If you have some favourite money saving tips or websites, please share them in the comments. It helps us all!

Photo Credits: HouseOfSims, ozmafan

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