Book Review: The Frugal Duchess of South Beach

Any book about frugality is bound to be interesting to me. That being said this book is more than just a collection of tips on frugality. “The Frugal Duchess” manages to combine a frugal tips book and a memoir into one book. Reading about the ordeals her parents went through will remind you how much more difficult life was just a generation or two ago. Many things considered necessities now were luxuries then or in some cases they didn’t even exist. She also includes little vignettes of her own family, I think seeing how someone personally implements frugal measures helps you implement the same measures yourself.

In short I recommend this book. Even if you already know all the frugal tips- and there is probably at least a couple you don’t – this book is worth the read for the personal story and to reinforce your own frugality. You can enter to win a copy of this book by leaving a comment on the giveaway post.

The Frugal Duchess of South Beach Book Giveaway

Fellow Frugal Blog Network member Sharon Harvey Rosenberg a.k.a. The Frugal Duchess has written a book titled The Frugal Duchess of South Beach: How to Live Well and Save Money…Anywhere!. She is having an online book tour to promote the book and I’m hosting the tour this week.  As part of the promotion I’ll be giving away a copy of her book.  Just leave a comment on this post to enter and I will choose a winner at random on Friday.

I don’t want to list a bunch of rules but please enter just once.  Also since I have to pay shipping costs I’m limiting the contest to those with a US address unless you’re willing to pay the mailing costs.  Any other rules will be at my discretion.  Thanks.

Do It Yourself Car Repair

One way to keep your automotive costs down is by doing maintenance and simple repairs yourself. I’m not mechanically inclined but I’ve found that with the help of a repair manual I’m able to do simple repairs that save me a lot of money compared to what they would cost to have done at a repair shop. The most popular paper manuals are Chilton and Haynes. If you’re lucky you might be able to find the necessary manual at your local library. I haven’t tried the Alldata online manual but it is recommended by many. The drawback is you have to subscribe to it yearly.

Recently I changed my spark plugs and installed new front brake pads. Changing the spark plugs was very easy yet it would have cost me at least $60 to have them done at a garage. Replacing the brake pads was more difficult but since I saved about $100 doing it myself it was well worth the effort. I spent about $80 doing the two repairs. The cost would have been much less but I had to buy the manual plus some tools. My future repairs will be even cheaper. Using a repair manual and doing your own car repairs can save you some significant money.

Refill Your Printer Ink Cartridge

New ink cartridges for your computer printer can be very expensive.  The cartridge for my printer costs about $35.  Refilling your printer ink cartridge rather than buying a new cartridge saves you quite a bit of money.  You can buy a refill kit for about $10 depending on what type of printer you have.  I haven’t used a refill kit but I’ve had friends that have used them successfully.

The other option is to have a store refill the cartridge for you.  I recently had my printer ink cartridge refilled at Walgreens and was pleased with the process.  The cost is $10 for black ink and $15 for black ink.  I had a coupon for $3 off ink refills plus a $5 off $20 purchase coupon so I effectively had the cartridge refilled for $2.  A $33 savings over buying a new one.  It took a half hour for the cartridge to be refilled.  When I got home I just popped it back in the printer and it printed great with no problems.

I’m sure there are other stores that refill ink cartridges but you probably can’t get a better deal than at Walgreens.   They frequently have coupons, register rewards, and free after rebate items that can allow you to buy stuff for free or even make a little money.  Check out Money Saving Mom for details on how to get the best deals.  I’m too lazy to come up with my own scenarios but picking the best ones off her site works well for me.  Even if you don’t want to bother with the deals you can save a lot of money by having your printer ink cartridge refilled.

Gas is Back Under $3 a Gallon

At least here in KC it is.  I’ve seen it as low as $2.91 a gallon and most places have it under $3 a gallon.  I’m wondering if now people will go back to their old habits and not worry about conserving gas.  That is probably what most people will do.  I plan to continue keeping my gas usage to a minimum.  I never thought gas would go back under $3 a gallon but if everyone starts using lots of gas the price will go back up quicker.  It will eventually go up regardless of how people drive but if people conserve gas now it will help slow the eventual gas price increase and make them better able to deal with the higher price of gas.  I’m seriously thinking of getting rid of my car next year.  It will depend on my ability to use public transportation to get to school and any job I might have.