It’s Been A While

Dear readers,

It has been a long while but MUYF is back and just in time for summer!  Unfortunately, our other site was hacked and so we have returned to using this one, so come back and check often for updates.


Emy and Kathy’s analysis of several frequent flier programs – So You Can Choose What’s Right for You

This month, has a fresh article outlining the pros and cons of various frequent flier programs available, which can help you sort out your mileage accounts and maximize your savings for free trips.  To read the article, click here.

At Money Under Your Futon, we strongly encourage readers to sign up for airline frequent flier programs when traveling.  They are free, and can potentially prove useful even to the very occasional traveler, since, in most of the US-based airlines’ programs, miles do not expire as long as there is an activity in the account.  And even if they do, you are no less worse off than if you hadn’t signed up in the first place.

In a previous post, we provided an introduction to frequent flier programs, summarizing how they work and their benefits.  But with each airline running its own program, deciding for which one to sign up can be daunting.  A previous article we covered offered some tips to get the most out of your miles.  With this one,  you can get more guidance on choosing the right frequent flier program for your travel habits and goals.

Sweepstakes Can Get You Coupons

Entering online sweepstakes may sometimes seem like a waste of time, particularly in those that run for days or even months and only select one grand prize winner.  But sometimes your entry can get you some interesting coupons as well.

Banana Republic and Virgin America have partnered in a promotion called “Land the Look,” and, by entering the sweepstakes, you not only try your luck in getting a round trip Virgin America flight, a hotel stay, and Banana Republic gift cards, but you also get two coupons delivered into your inbox.  The first is a 20% off coupon for any full-priced item at Banana Republic stores, and the second, which can be quite valuable depending on where you fly, is a coupon for 10% off your next Virgin America ticket (promo code 54054109).  Both coupons are valid only until the end of this month (March 31, 2010) and the latter applies to trips taken until June 9, 2010 (with blackout dates between May 28 and 31, 2010).

Other sweepstakes frequently come with deals as well.  Entries to contests tied to magazines often give access to discounted subscription rates, which could be interesting if for a magazine you usually read or to which you already subscribe anyway, and sweepstakes run by manufacturers sometimes have a coupon as their final landing page.

If you are looking for coupons, searching online for codes is a first step.  But entering related sweepstakes could be a useful second.  And you never know – your resourceful entry could turn out to be lucky one too!

Happy Holidays!

MUYF will be taking a short break, but please send any questions you may have to our email address: moneyunderyourfuton [at] gmail [dot] com.  Enjoy the holidays and catch up with us when we return in January!

Frugal vs. Cheap

This week, The Washington Post’s Ylan Q. Mui started an interesting debate in the Small Change blog on the differences between frugality and cheapness. Here is our response, which was featured in her second post on the topic:

Frugality is taking simple measures to save money, while cheapness involves going through great lengths to save a little bit of money, often at the expense of others. In the former category I would include using coupons and exercising restraint and not buying things that aren’t necessary.

Cheapness, on the other hand, describes actions like under-tipping under the assumption that others in the group will put in more money when the total amount falls short without noticing that it was your fault, or figuring that the waiter won’t notice until you’ve left the restaurant; unpeeling onions and picking grapes out of the stem in the grocery store so that you don’t pay for the peel or the stem (how much money can you really save doing that?! Does it really add up?); and arguing with your roommate that the monthly water bill should be pro-rated because he had a friend over for a night who presumably used water. None of these examples are hypothetical, by the way – I have actually met people who have done at least one of these things.

What do you think of this definition?  Where do you draw the line between being frugal and being cheap?