Free

Affordable Hard Cover Books

If you time it right, you can read newly issued hardcover fiction for free or nearly free. Here’s how:

When the book has been out a couple weeks, check auction sites like eBay and Amazon. Someone who has read it and wants to pass it on will be selling it for less than the retail price. There will be several listings; keep looking until you find one with a low price.

Buy it, read it, and put it back up for auction again. If you do this before the interest in it wanes, you may get your original cost back. Save the packaging it came in to reuse when you ship it back out again.

I did this with a Janet Evanovich book a few years ago. My net cost for a $28 book was only the shipping to have it delivered to my door. If I had been quicker to relist it, I might even have made a profit.

 

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Where’s the Beef?

I heated up a frozen dinner, Korean-style beef with vegetables and rice. Come to take off the covering film, there’s no beef! Delicious vegetables and rice, but no beef. I just got off a live internet chat with a rep at the site given on the package. They’re sending me coupons for a couple free meals.

When something isn’t right, let the manufacturer know.

When something is great, let the manufacturer know.

The Magic of Craigslist

Now and then I look at the Free section of my local Craigslist and mentally furnish a life from it. If you’re starting out or starting over, it might be worth renting a truck and spending the day retrieving the free household goods in your area.

Today I could go and get several couches, chairs, a nice wooden table, three chair-style barstools, a king size mattress and box spring, a large china cabinet, a hutch, an Ikea dresser, a section of kitchen cabinetry, two old-style televisions, a box of VHS tapes, some hardcover books, a box of packaged foods, three different exercise machines, a patio table, lots of firewood, a large birdcage, kittens, and some tropical fish.

To find your local Craigslist, Google “Craigslist” and the name of your town.

As with any used items, examine furniture¬†closely for signs of bedbugs or mold. These are free items, given away by the owners, so there’s no guarantee and no delivery.

 

 

Automatic Savings with Paribus

Paribus monitors the prices of things you purchase online. If the price goes down after you buy it, they ask the merchant to refund you the difference, all without any input from you. I had signed up for this ages ago, and when it stopped working I didn’t follow up.

Thanks to a recent Facebook post by thepennyhoarder.com, I clicked through and reactivated my account. It had lost touch with my email account somehow. Soon refunds will start magically appearing in my bank account again. The service is free.

https://paribus.co

 

 

Plenty of Fish

 

 

No algorithm in its right mind would have matched my late husband and I. On the metrics they use, we were irrelevant to each other. On the metrics that can’t be measured in a questionnaire, we were a perfect match. We met pre-internet, back in the olden days.

Internet dating is becoming the norm. You can pay a monthly fee for the big sites that use computer constructs to find people who will be well suited to you. And maybe they will. On the other hand, for frugal dating, there’s a good, free, site called http://www.plentyoffish.com. POF tied for second place in Consumer Reports’ survey.¬†https://www.consumerreports.org/dating-relationships/are-paid-dating-sites-better-than-free-ones/

As with any site, you have to use discernment. Meet at a neutral location such as a coffee shop for the first date. Maybe the second, too, if you feel uncertain. Don’t hesitate to decline a date if you’re uneasy about the person.

You have to use caution on any site, and the frugal path is the free sites.

Horrendously Expensive Medications

The latest email from http://www.stretcher.com includes an article from a subscriber who couldn’t afford the $280 (!) co-pay on a prescription. He remembered those TV ads about how the manufacturer “may be able to help.” He called and explained his situation. They gave him a coupon for a month’s worth free. Since his was an acute condition, this was enough to get him through.

It can’t hurt to ask!