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Fragrant Thai beef salad makes a delicious meal of yesterday’s sirloin steak. You can substitute sliced deli roast beef if you don’t have any leftovers. (Ryan Enn Hughes/Ryan Enn Hughes/The Globe and Mail)
Fragrant Thai beef salad makes a delicious meal of yesterday’s sirloin steak. You can substitute sliced deli roast beef if you don’t have any leftovers. (Ryan Enn Hughes/Ryan Enn Hughes/The Globe and Mail)

Budgeting

Savvy saving advice Add to ...

Bitches on a Budget: Sage Advice for Surviving Tough Times in Style by Rosalyn Hoffman

The author

A former Avon marketing executive and New York department store buyer.

Shopping

Shop more often - but do it with restraint. Leave home without your credit card. Treat the boutiques you're cruising as though they were museums and the policy is ne touchez pas. "Indulge your fantasies. Just don't open your wallet." And, of course, there's the old shopping adage: If you can't stop thinking about it, go back and snap it up.

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Home

"Toss the crap" Ms. Hoffman advises. This means clearing all the clutter from your humble abode and being careful what you spend on refurnishing or redecorating. And while you're clearing house, keep an eye out for treasures that could be worth something. Snap a digital photo of it and submit it to an auction house. And there's always Craigslist for buying and selling or casting off items free.

Food

Instead of going out, hold potluck dinners at home. They don't have to be conventional. Have your own Iron Chef/ Chopped/ Hell ' s Kitchen contest by combining elements of the top food contest shows: Choose secret ingredients, break into teams and set a timer for 60 minutes. Spouses and family members can serve as judges when you plate the results.

Travel

Troll the Internet for deals - and be flexible about where you want to go and when. Women who pay all their bills every month can benefit from putting everything on a single airline-linked credit card, too, Ms. Hoffman writes. Collecting (and hoarding) travel points can help you get to your destination on a dime.

Thrifty: Living the Frugal Life with Style by Marjorie Harris

The author

"A survivor with a will of iron and a heart of gold." Also The Globe's gardening columnist.

Shopping

Buy well and buy once. Dropping a little more dough on select high-quality items means you aren't spending extra money replacing lower-grade stuff that wears out with time, Ms. Harris says. Ask for discounts on display items. Scour men's and children's sections for lower-cost clothing basics, shop off-season and ask yourself how much mileage you'll get from each piece of clothing.

Home

When renovating and redecorating, "always do as much as you can yourself," Ms. Harris suggests. Look online for DIY advice, and if you do choose to hire help, find the best pros you can so you know the job will be done well. For energy savings, close the door to any rooms you're not using. Office furniture stores also have great deals for the house. And remember: Picking up a used gem on the side of the road means you're smart, not a scavenger.

Food

Never step into a grocery store without a list. If an item is not part of the plan, it doesn't fit in your budget, Ms. Harris writes. "Read the weekly specials, but don't buy simply for the savings." That could mean eating meat only a few times a month or experimenting with cheaper cuts.

Travel

Don't be too proud to freeload on accommodations if you know someone who lives at your destination. (But give would-be hosts the option to turn you down.) Just be a good guest: Cover your own costs and offer to buy or make them meals. Short-term apartment rentals and home swaps can also save you money (but may be trickier to co-ordinate).

The Smart Cookies' Guide to Couples and Money: Earn More, Argue Less, Achieve the Life You Want Together by Andrea Baxter, Angela Self, Katie Dunsworth, Robyn Gunn and Sandra Hanna



The authors

Five reformed spendthrifts who started a money group inspired by an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Shopping

If a bad mood usually sends you straight for the mall, enlist the help of your partner or a friend to help you steer clear of it by making plans together. "You're bound to feel better and you'll be less likely to overspend." Plan out what you intend to buy ahead of time so you don't toss trashy tabloids in your cart at the checkout. Shop right after major holidays to score the best deals.

Home

If you're trying to buying a house, know how much you can realistically afford to spend on the down payment, all closing costs and the mortgage payments. Monthly housing costs shouldn't be more than 32 per cent of your gross household monthly income, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the Cookies write.

Food

Couples can drop tons of dough on eating out. Eat early to cash in on happy hour specials or check out a hot new restaurant by first perching at the bar and nibbling on appetizers instead of committing to the pricey mains. At home, healthy frozen meals can keep you from splurging on takeout. Make your own coffee and your own lunch.

Travel

Book a fancy hotel in your own city for a night. "It'll cost less and you can spend a little more on the room and perks, without feeling guilty." Hotels in the financial district have great weekend rates since they're usually busier during the week. When heading out of town on business, you can work in a little bit of pleasure by tacking a few extra days on your journey.

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