Category Archives: Ways to Save Money

4 Ways to Save Money Without Too Many Sacrifices

Crazy smart tips to save money! Totally using the first one--my kids are SUCH picky eaters!

It may seem like saving money on stuff automatically requires major sacrifices. But, as you’ll soon see, there are simple things you can do to spend less without feeling you’re missing out.

Try Samples Before Buying Full-Sized Items

Many people are so concerned with prices that they scoop up products they’ve never tried before, just because the prices are so low. That may seem like a good idea at first, but imagine how inconvenient it would be if you bought a 10-pack box of toaster pastries that the kids won’t eat because they complain the products don’t taste similar enough to their usual brand.

To avoid that common scenario, try samples of food before buying full-sized packages if the option exists. There are some common etiquette rules to follow before chowing down on a sample. For example, always read the ingredients, give feedback when necessary, and don’t be afraid to go back for seconds. By sampling foods, you could end up saving money on consumables you buy and never use.

Sign Up for Loyalty Programs

The perks offered by loyalty programs may span from free oil changes to complimentary nights in a hotel room. Although getting linked up with loyalty programs may result in some extra messages in your inbox from time to time, the rewards earned could be worth it. That’s especially true if there’s no need to do anything more than buy the brands you always have.

If you’re concerned you’ll never see any benefits because there’s a points system in place, don’t despair. Even when getting started with a loyalty program offered by a hotel brand or airline, you could notice immediate perks such as early check-in and free Wi-Fi.

Be sure to stay aware of the rewards provided by your loyalty programs and when you’re eligible to receive them. By staying on top of that, it’s easier to understand which things you don’t need to buy due to getting them free for participating.

Take Advantage of Coupons and Special Offers

The Sunday newspaper is just one place of many to find worthwhile coupons. Many retailers track what you buy over time and might give coupons to you with store receipts, or offer them within dedicated apps. Stay abreast of the kinds of money-saving offers available to you and seize those opportunities as much as possible. You may even want to set a weekly reminder on your phone that’ll cue you to go to all the places you normally get coupons from and see if the newest offers are for things you might buy anyway.

Shop Locally for Car Insurance

Feeling persuaded by an advertisement you saw for a huge car insurance firm that doesn’t have nearby offices to visit? Instead of immediately getting coverage there because of great rates that were advertised, see what you could get from a local insurance agency first.

Keep in mind, many national names have branches throughout the country, so shopping locally doesn’t necessarily mean going with an untested brand. When engaging with your local insurance specialist, be frank about your budget, especially if you’re switching from another provider and don’t want to pay any more than a certain amount with the new company.

Do research about the various ways a company might help its customers save. Car insurance is a mandatory purchase in most states, so you may as well get educated on potential discounts. For some of them, you may only need to prove you’re a safe driver or haven’t filed a claim for a while.

These are some of the simple but powerful ways to save money on things you have to buy anyway, all without feeling flustered by your frugal efforts. Try them soon and notice the savings.


This post has been compensated and contributed by an outside writer.

Back-to-School Jeans for Only $8.88

Over the years, our family has come to love Crazy8–even as an alternative to consignment shops. Their clothes are super stylish, quality and come at reasonable prices which are further brought down by frequent and stellar sales.

This year, as we get ready for back-to-school shopping–


–we are on the lookout for great prices to keep our budget in check. One of my kiddos doesn’t need a ton of stuff as far as back-to-school is concerned, but the other definitely needs a wardrobe update as the weather changes from oppressively hot to color-changing, autumnal temperatures.

We were so excited when we saw that Crazy8 has a killer deal on their denim products–only $8.88 for jeans!

Here are some of the favorite back-to-school styles from the Frugality household. My kids are at the age where they have their own style now. They’re probably more fashionable than their mother!

Girls’ Back-to-School Looks

Girls' back-to-school outfits on sale at Crazy8

Jean Jacket – $20.93
Sparkle Girl Tee – $5
Jeggings – $8.88

Find great deals on kids' jeans for back-to-school with this sale.

Metallic Sweatshirt – $14.93
Skinny Jeans – $8.88

Check out this deal on girls' jeans at Crazy8.

Sparkle Tee – $5
Bootcut Jeans – $8.88

Boys’ Back-to-School Looks

Crazy8 Denim Back-to-School Sale

Plaid Shirt – $7
Rocker Jeans – $8.88

Back-to-school jeans for only $8.88

Stripe Tee – $5
Bootcut Jean – $8.88

Affordable, quality back-to-school looks on sale.

Speckle Zip Hoodie – $12
Baseball Tee – $5
Straight Jeans – $8.88

Share Your Shopping Secrets

We’d love to hear from you. Leave an answer to one of these questions in the comments–we read each and every one!

  • How do you score a great deal during back-to-school shopping?
  • Do your children need a complete wardrobe overhaul, or just a few items this year?
  • What’s one item your kid would like from Crazy8? Are you happy with the price?





I have been compensated for the writing of this post. Regardless, all opinions are 100% honest and 100% my own. It’s always a great experience to be paid for promoting a product I love and recommend to my friends. Please note that all prices are current at the time of writing, but are subject to change.

Tips for Moving with Children

Last month I got to sit down with my friends at Northwood Realty for a Think Tank session on moving with children. To be honest with you, it’s something I haven’t done yet–partially because our current housing situation is affordable, and partially because Holy Overwhelm.

I have moved a lot, though, in my pre-kid life. It was great to sit down with a bunch of other moms who had been through the ringer, and real estate agents who had done it themselves as parents and helped their clients through the process more than a few times.

I feel a lot better about the whole thing now, and better prepared for next year when we take the plunge.

What we came up with was a treasure trove of knowledge gained from first-hand experience. Here’s some of the best of it:

Such a wealth of knowledge on how to move with kids! Actually feel prepared now!

Smart Prepping for a Frugal Move with Children

We’ve been saying we’re going to move “next year” for a couple of years now. But this time we mean it.

How do I know?

We’ve actually started going through our stuff. Doing so early means we won’t have to move as much–which will save us money. It also means that we’re able to list and sell all our extra stuff before the big day.

It’s a smart move, too, because it means as the seasons roll around, we’ll be able to pack progressively. Once those winter coats are off for the last time, they’ll get packed up. That’s one less box we’ll have to worry about come late Spring.

I picked up some additional tips about moving prep from the fine mothers and real estate agents at our Think Tank, too:

  • If you don’t know where to donate something, especially kids’ toys, clothing or gear, think Women’s Shelters. They often have women and children rotating in and out and always have a need.
  • Pack smaller boxes so everyone can help with the move. I always packed larger boxes and went into beast mode on moving day so it wouldn’t take as long, but now that we’ll have kiddos along for the ride I see the value in going small.
  • Get free boxes at the grocery store or other retailer that frequently receives shipments. They’re typically really strong and most places just break them down at the end of the night. You might have to come after close, but usually if you ask a manger if you can take some off their hands they’ll be more than happy to help.
  • Label and color code. It’s smart to label each box according to which room it will go into. That way, if you have friends coming to help, they won’t be guessing as to which room “Johnny’s Trophies” should end up in. But if you have preliterate children, using colored tape to coordinate with each room can be super helpful, too.

Buying a Home with Children

One thing that really surprised me was that, at least in the South Western PA market, it doesn’t really matter financially when you move. The price difference in housing is negligible, so you should do it whenever works best for your family.

Helping Kids Transition

If you want to move in the summer, though, it was advised that you start looking early. And if you want to move in the summer to help your kids transition, there were some great tips to make things run more smoothly:

  • Enroll your children in sports in their new district–and do it early. This helps them get to know people so they have some friendly faces on their first day.
  • Involve your kids in the house hunt. This can help them feel involved–and also alert you to safety hazards you may not have noticed. I will note that when my parents did this, they picked what I thought was the wrong house. And I still hold it against them. Kidding! Kind of.
  • Hire a sitter to come with you on the house hunt. This way the kids can stay involved, but the show can go on if there’s a meltdown. Pay the babysitter per house–it’s more motivating for them to stay on that way!
  • Get the children’s bedrooms set up first. It will help make their new surroundings more comforting.

Get Your Money Straight

Many of these tips go for any house hunting endeavor–it’s important to have your budget straight. When you’re figuring out how much you need to have saved before buying a home, don’t forget to look beyond the down payment and monthly mortgage payments. You’ll also need money for:

  • Closing costs
  • Home inspection
  • Escrow
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Any applicable HOA fees
  • Hand money

It’s important to be honest with your real estate agent about your financial situation, too. Many of the agents at the Think Tank said this is hard for people, because money and pride go hand-in-hand. But your agent is there to help you, and has a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests. If you’re not completely forthcoming, it will all come out anyways–potentially messing up a deal or resulting in lost time looking at houses you can’t truly afford.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR PA BUYERS: You cannot receive gifts to cover costs in the home buying process in the state of Pennsylvania. If you live in another state, be sure to check your local laws before banking on any gift money.

You’ll also want to get pre-qualified before shopping. In markets like the one we have in Pittsburgh, sellers won’t even look at your offer if you want a contingency clause added while you try to find financing.

Selling a Home With Children

Keeping your house ready for last-minute tours is stressful. Keeping it clean and ready with kids? That’s panic-mode stressful.

Here are some top-notch tips I gleaned for prepping your house to move:

  • Keep all the toys in one room. And make sure it isn’t on the ground floor if at all possible. While in reality your children may have taken over the house, no one wants to buy that reality–even if they have kids themselves. Let them fantasize.
  • Get some laundry baskets ready. Got a call from your agent saying that someone wants to come see the house in an hour? As in one hour? As in sixty minutes from NOW? If you have a couple of laundry baskets ready to go, you can round up all the toys, books and other odds and ends your kids have taken out of that dedicated room, throw them in the basket, and then throw them in the trunk of your car as you get ready to leave.
    Last-minute showings can be inconvenient, but staying flexible is key in helping your home sell quickly.
  • Don’t worry about seasonality. At least in our local housing market, there is no best time of year to sell. In fact, the agents we spoke with said the holidays were one of their favorite times to sell because the houses were done up so beautifully for the festivities. (January is also when a ton of companies do relocations, so there are generally plenty of buyers.)
  • Animals are more of a distraction than children. If you have pets, you may want to temporarily house them somewhere else. If the buyer isn’t a dog person, they may have a hard time overlooking your German Shepard while they’re trying to fall in love with your house. Or the litter your cat spilled outside the box after you meticulously cleaned it up before loading your laundry baskets into the car.
    Temporarily housing with a friend or family member is also less stressful for your furry friend, too. Strangers can be scary–especially when your pet doesn’t fully understand what’s going on.

Protect Yourself

Again: strangers can be scary. While you hope the buyer’s agent is looking out for you, you simply don’t know who is going to be in your home. Be sure to lock up any:

  • Cash
  • Checkbooks
  • Credit cards/Banking information
  • Jewelry
  • Firearms
  • Medication
  • Anything else of value or potential harm

Ready to List!

Ready to list? Here’s some things you can do to help get your house off the market quickly:

  • Have an open house immediately after you list. This helps create pressure.
  • If you can coordinate listing with your vacation, you’ve got an ideal situation. You clean your house before you leave and have nobody to mess it up for a week–or however long you’re gone. The realtors cited many examples where the home sold before the family was even back in town!
  • Continue promoting even if you have a contract. Because, unfortunately, contracts do sometimes fall through.

Have you moved with children?

Would love to hear about your experiences in the comments!




*I have been compensated for my time at this event and the writing of this post.  Regardless, all opinions are 100% my own and 100% honest.*

3 Tips for Moving on a Tight Budget

Saving this for our next move! Great tips on how to move on a tight budget.

Moving house is stressful for a wide number of reasons.

One, you may have to start packing while you’re still working a full-time job and taking care of a family.

Two, you may have a lot of things to pack, but no clear idea of how to go about it.

Three, you may have fond memories of your current home and circle of friends and feel a little depressed about leaving it all behind.

And four, you may have to do things in a hurry, perhaps because of a job relocation.

There are lots of things to consider when moving house. Fortunately, there are also plenty of simple, effective strategies to help you get things sorted out quickly so that your move will go smoothly. Here are 3 big ideas to make your move easier:

1. Figure out how you’ll move.

It’s important to figure out the logistics of your move before you take any action. A clear idea of how you’re going to move will make it easier for everything else to fall into place.

Deciding on how to move usually boils down to figuring out whether you should do-it-yourself or hire a reputable professional business like the North American moving company. If you’re thinking of spending as little as possible to move, you might assume that it would be more labor intensive but less expensive to do it yourself. While you might be right about how much work is involved in doing everything yourself, you could be wrong about it being cost-effective.

The only reason making your own move appears cheaper is because you don’t see all of your costs totaled up ahead of time. Instead, you’re dealing with multiple costs that occur over a stretch of time. For instance, there are the costs of hiring a moving van, buying your family and friends’ thank-you lunches and dinners for volunteering to help you move, the cost of moving equipment and materials, checking in at weigh stations, increased tolls and so on.

Since these costs accumulate in a random, often unpredictable way, they could add up to more than you had reckoned. By comparison, professional movers usually have a streamlined process that often results in large cost savings for the consumer.

Besides the financial costs, you also have to consider the cost of time and labor. If you’re planning on a DIY move you have to ask some hard questions.

  • How much time do your family and friends have available to help you with your move?
  • Will you be coming home exhausted from work in the evening and then start packing until midnight for weeks on end?
  • Will your family and friends have enough time to come over and help you out with everything that needs to get done?
  • Will things get packed properly and loaded safely or will hasty packing result in plenty of breakages of some of your best stuff?
  • Will you be able to find enough strong people to move the large, heavy appliances and furniture into the truck?

Many of these problems could be alleviated if a professional moving company sends over some able bodied people to help you pack your stuff.

2. Minimize how much stuff you have to move.

If you’ve lived in your home for a long time, you’ve probably accumulated a lot more stuff than you realized. When you look around your apartment or house, you might be surprised to come across things you no longer like or need. You’ll discover clothes that just don’t fit anymore and electronic gadgets that are now obsolete.

You should consider decluttering as much as you can. It’s a total waste of time and money to pack and transport all this excess to your new home.

Here is a simple strategy for decluttering:

  1. Empty out a room so that you have plenty of free space.
  2. Go around the house and collect everything that you don’t want to take with you and dump it into the empty room.
  3. Use four large boxes to sort through what you now have in the spare room. You will need a box for trash; a box for recycling; a box for donations to family and friends; and a box for putting everything you can’t make a decision on in the moment.

3. Avoid spending more than necessary.

Don’t buy boxes, but simply collect boxes from local stores who throw or recycle their boxes after they have received a shipment of new products. Also, cut off all your utility bills before your date of departure because many utility companies won’t pro-rate your invoices. Otherwise, you might be paying for an extra month of services.

These 3 big tips will help mitigate some of the stress of moving. Moving houses is often considered a major life stressor, exhausting both physically and emotionally. In fact, it’s considered as difficult as relationship breakups, divorces, and starting a new job. And, of course, it becomes even more stressful if you have a limited budget and a tight deadline to meet.



This post is contributed and brought to you by Abby Locker.

Should I Buy Auto Insurance on My Rental Car?

Shoot! I didn't realize I was already covered! Will definitely be reconsidering buying extra insurance the next time I rent a car.

Getting ready to purchase auto insurance on that rental?

Hold your horses.

I totally get that you don’t want to be held liable should the worst happen. After all, you’re renting a car for convenience or vacation—the last thing you want to do is worry about the unknown.

But you also don’t want to spend more money than you have to. If you are purchasing an auto rental on a credit card, you may already have coverage. You may also have coverage if you carry a regular auto policy.

Don’t automatically agree to paying yet another premium. First, call up your credit card and insurance companies to see what you already have.

Auto Insurance Offered Through Your Credit Card

If you are paying for your rental with a credit card, you may already have coverage. These policies most often cover damages caused by collision and theft.

Let’s look at PenFed’s Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card. As long as you paid for the rental entirely with this card and only had authorized drivers per your rental agreement operating the vehicle, coverage includes:

  • Physical damage to the vehicle
  • Theft of the vehicle
  • Towing charges as long as they’re reasonable
  • Valid loss-of-use charges imposed and substantiated by the auto rental company

If you’re renting domestically, coverage only applies to vehicles rented 15 days or less. If you’re out of the country, it applies to rentals of 31 days or less.

Not all vehicles are covered. For example, if you wanted to roll around in a Ferrari, you wouldn’t qualify for coverage. The same goes if you sign a rental agreement for any luxe vehicle or a van, motorcycle, moped, open-bed vehicle, or antique auto.

These exceptions are pretty standard across card companies, but it’s always a good idea to give your benefits administrator a quick ring before signing to make sure your specific make and model will be eligible for coverage.

The only thing you have to do to accept coverage is definitively decline the insurance the rental agency is offering you. In writing.

Your Own Auto Insurance

If you have auto insurance, the following areas will generally be covered by your own policy:

  • Liability to others’ property in case of property damage
  • Liability for others’ medical bills in case of a crash
  • Medical expenses for you and others in your vehicle

This is a good time to review your coverage limits. If they’re too low, up them.

If you carry a renter’s or homeowner’s policy, your personal effects will typically be covered in case of theft—even though you’re not at home, and even though you’re in a rental car.

Your auto policy should also cover damages due to collision or theft, but if you have a deductible the policy on your credit card should help make up the difference. You’ll either have no out-of-pocket costs or be reimbursed for expenses in those two areas.

What Insurance Should You Buy from a Rental Agency?

If you do not have your own auto insurance policy, it’s wise to purchase the liability coverage from the rental agency, even if you have collision and theft covered via your credit card.

If you and everyone in your car carry health insurance, you can probably skip the medical coverage—unless someone knows they have an astronomical deductible or low coverage limits.

If you don’t carry homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, get on that. You should have it anyways. But if you don’t currently have a policy and you’re traveling with belongings you’d be remiss without, it’s not a bad idea to sign on for the personal effects coverage, too.



This post is in collaboration with PenFed Credit Union. The views expressed in the article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Pentagon Federal Credit Union. PenFed Credit Union is an Equal Housing Lender and is federally insured by the NCUA.