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Featured Reader: Rebecca, NC

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Rebecca from North Carolina

Your Favorite Source for Bargains:

"Garbage saling" or curb shopping (we ask before we take good or easily repairable items from someone's trash). We also tell everyone about Freecycling.

Your Best Bargain of All Time:

There have been too many to count, but computers are always a top item – my hubby takes them apart, and builds new computers for us or for disabled or low-income families and individuals. A side-by-side refrigerator found for our neighbors through Freecycle was another standout (really blew their minds).

Your Best Money-Saving Tip:

Save money on heating and air conditioning by making quilted curtains that go to the floor or to the bottom of the window frame. Over the last 21 years this has made the biggest impact on our budget, and made our home more comfortable. No more cold drafts creeping across the floor!

You can use clip-on rings on a used bedspread if that is all you can afford; or sew one seam to make an opening at the top for a cheap wooden closet rod. Buy the inexpensive closet rod holders that you screw into each side of the window frame, and you can take the rod and quilt down during the day if you want to.

Dark fabric makes the room darker (for sleeping); white or light colored fabric lets the light in. You can use beautiful drapes over the top if you have them, or you can just use them by themselves.

Shower rods and shower rings with a heavier decorator shower curtain make for extremely cheap curtains. They are easier to open and can be found much cheaper than the fancy, new clip on-curtain rings.

The Worst Money-Saving Advice You've Ever Received:

Buy expensive name brands. This used to be good advice, but now that everything is made in India, Indonesia and China, the name brands are often identical to the items sold in Wal-Mart and other discount stores – just with a brand name and logo attached. Sometimes it is good advice, but you have to know how to identify quality materials and construction methods to know if you're getting a deal.

The Craziest Thing You Do to Save Money:

Hoarding furniture and household items for family members and people in need. We collect things as we find them for free or super-cheap prices, so they are available when people need them. It is a heck of a lot cheaper than trying to buy the stuff when people need it, and the only way we can afford to help others.

What You're Doing Now to Save Money:

  • budgeting
  • cooking from scratch
  • buying movies at garage sales, instead of watching them at the theater when they first come out
  • buying leather Dooney & Bourke and other high-end purses at garage sales, so I can use them or sell them online
  • driving old cars and keeping them well maintained
  • thrift shopping, curb shopping and "garbage saling" (rich neighborhoods are a bonanza of savings on garbage day)
  • sewing my own clothes from fabric that I get for $1.00 or less a yard
  • shopping the "75%-off-of-lowest-marked-price" end-of-season sales at Dillards and Belks to get clothes cheaper than I can make them
  • getting my hair cut at the local beauty college for $7. The instructor makes sure they do a great job, and I save a ton of money!
  • Want to be the next Frugal Living Featured Reader? Just click here to complete your profile, and I'll choose a new reader each week.

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