Can You Live For A Year Without Shopping?

By Marianne Mancusi Staff

My grandma sure knew how to save a buck. And she loved sharing her secrets with anyone who'd listen. Sunday afternoons my mother and I would settle down in her vinyl kitchen chairs (acquired at a yard sale down the road) and sip apple juice (purchased on sale with a fifty cent mail-in rebate) and watch as she'd proudly present her weekly finds. An economy size box of garbage bags? Only 39 cents after double coupons. A can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup? Fifty cents off when you bought three. A box of Captain Crunch cereal? Why, she'd actually made money after triple coupons, in-store sale, and mail-in-rebate.

This was obviously much bigger than just saving money. Heck, she didn't even use half the stuff she bought. But for her, every bargain was a treasure -- won by hard work, thorough research and meticulous record keeping. The woman had thrifty down to a science.

And today, Grandma would be in right in style. According to a recent Gallup poll, six out of ten Americans say they now enjoy saving rather than spending. And fifty-seven percent spend less money then they used to.

But these modern day bargain hunters aren't content to stay in their kitchens. They're going online, spilling their savings secrets to the world.

"They're doing it on Facebook...through Twitter, through their blogs," says Yahoo Web Life Editor Heather Cabot. "Social media has really allowed people to tell the world about the deals that they're finding."

The stories and tips are as varied as the people who share them. Like the "One Dollar Diet Project", where a San Diego couple spent only a dollar a day on food for an entire month.

For more inspiring examples, including friends that didn't shop for a year and a group that snags clothes for free, click here.

Cabot says, of course, not all bloggers are experts so you need to consider the source. As long as you exercise caution, though, you can not only get great tips, but major motivation after reading these real life stories. "You can find out about the ways different people are changing their lives to save money," she says. "And I think that at least for me personally, when I read some of these things it makes me think twice before I buy something."

It also becomes a great reminder that you're not alone in this bad economy. "They know that other people are struggling as well," says Cabot. "And when they find a good deal, they want to be like hey I found this, I want to share this with other people."

Grandma would be so proud.


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