Monday, August 29, 2011

Free Museum List

Hankering for something fun, free, and maybe educational to do? Well, never fear! I've scouted around, and.... it looks like all of these museums are free!* (*according to the Internet. Please, please double check with museums near you!) Here's a list for several U.S. cities - Let me know of others that can be added!

Ann Arbor:

University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History (suggested $6 donation)
University of Michigan Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry

Atlanta Metro:
The King Center
Fernbank Science Center
Autrey Mill Heritage Center

Museum of African-American History 
Boston Fire Museum

The Museum of Contemporary
Photography - Admission: $0!
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art                             

Museum of Contemporary Photography
National Museum of Mexican Art

National Geographic Museum
National Building Museum
The Smithsonian Museums

Visit the California African
American Museum for free!
Los Angeles Metro: 
California African American Museum
California Science Center
Santa Monica Museum of Art

Miami's Holocaust Memorial
Bakehouse Art Complex

New York: 
National Museum of the American Indian
Fashion Institute of Technology Museum
Socrates Sculpture Park

Phoenix Metro:
The Riparian Institute (Gilbert)

Portland, Oregon (and around the area)
Kidd's Toy Museum
Portland Police Museum
Wells Fargo History Museum

San Francisco and the Bay Area: 
Learn all about the trolleys of San
Francisco for absolutely nothing!
San Francisco Cable Car Museum                                           
Chinese Culture Center
San Francisco Fire Department Museum

Seattle and Northwest Washington State: 
Frye Art Museum
Olympic Sculpture Park
Whatcom Museum (Bellingham)

Special thanks to National Geographic Travel, twice!, thrice!, four!   no really it's a great resource, for real it, Hidden Portland, Discover Los Angeles,, Lonely Planet, and

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Frugal Fashion Feature

You may be wondering: Captain Cheap, how do you get, and stay, so stylish? 

But wonder no longer, because the answer is: On the cheap! Or, even better, for free!

This is my favorite T-shirt. The front of the shirt features the logo of my local library, and the back has the library's website on it. How much did I pay for this shirt? $0! 
I actually "earned" this shirt by participating in my library's adult summer reading program. You could score a certain amount of points for checking out materials and going to library events, and then cash them in for prizes. I cashed in mine for this awesome shirt! 

Last year, I got a free sweatshirt for opening a checking account. Last week, my summer job just passed out t-shirts to folks to reward us for working the summer. 
I like these free shirts because, first of all, they're free. But secondly,  because when I wear them, people can see that I belong to a community. People can see that I'm a proud library patron, or that I worked with an academic support program over the summer. Pretend vintage shirts that they mass-market (and that cost money) only say: Look, here's a shirt I spent money on. Which is not nearly so cool. 

So how can you get ahold of free shirts, hats, and other fashionable gear? Here are some tips that have worked for me and for other readers who wrote in with their advice!: 

Free "parrothead" hats
passed out at a Detroit
Tigers baseball game. 
* Drew, a Captain Cheap reader, recommends volunteering. He got some free shirts from helping out a concession stand at a local high school. (Captain Cheap hint: Volunteering also often involves free food, too!) 

* Jen, another reader, reminds us that there are often free hats and shirts to be had with the price of a ticket to sporting events. If you're thinking about going to a football, baseball, hockey, basketball, or any other sporting game, check to see what nights are giveaway nights, and get more for your money!

...Here's to another frugal, and fashionable, week, friends!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quick Tips on Saving $ on Your Electric Bill

ATTENTION READERS!!!! Next week will be a Special Frugal Fashion Feature!! Send in pictures of clothes (shirts, hats, etc) that you've gotten for FREE and a story about how you got each of them (Did you win them? Were they giveaways? From where?), so that YOU can be included in the Frugal Fashion Feature!! Send them to:! 

Saving Money on Your Electric Bill

Are you responsible for paying for utilities at your place? (As in, electricity's not covered by your lease?) What a bummer! Fear not, though! Some of these tips can help you shave down the costs!

Could books help keep you warm
this winter? 
* A certain member of my family has claimed that lining his walls with bookshelves (filled with books, of course!) helped to insulate his house and cut down on heating bills. Could it work for you?

* Erin, a Captain Cheap reader, suggests filling 2 liter bottles with water and placing them in your freezer. They will help keep your freezer hold its cool temperatures, so that it will require less energy, and save you up to $3.00 per month!
A full fridge is a happy
electric bill! Photo
courtesy of TimJFowler

* According to Oh My Apartment, filling up your fridge with food - or bottles of water - does the same thing. A full fridge, rather than an empty fridge, means that less cold air is lost when you open the door.

* Have a dishwasher? Why not open the door and let your dishes air dry instead of using energy to have the dishwasher do it?

....Here's to another cheap week, folks! Looking forward to hearing from you AND your frugal fashion!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A List of Stores That Pay You for Bringing Your Own Bags

Please note, y'all: These prices were gleaned from stores in my local area (Southeastern Michigan) and Internet research. Be sure to ask your local stores what their bag policies are -- These may not be accurate for your regional stores.

Stores that charge you for using their bags (bring your own and you don't have to pay this amount):

IKEA - $.59/bag

Stores that give you a discount, store credit, or something else for bringing in your own bags:

Fred Meyer's - $.05/bag

Fry's - $.05/bag

Kroger - $.03/bag

Safeway - $.03/bag

Sunflower Markets (in the Southwest) - $.10 for every bag of theirs that you bring back and reuse

Target - $.05 / bag

Trader Joe's - Holds a monthly drawing for those who bring in their own bags for a gift certificate.

Whole Foods - $.05/bag for you or as a donation to charity

Special thanks to Frugal Hacks for help with research:

Here's to a week of more money in your pocket, and less money lost on bags, peeps!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Four Money-Saving Myths: Busted

1. Everything's Cheaper at the Dollar Store.

I'm a big fan of the dollar store. (Holla to the Dolla Tree!) But sometimes, it's actually much cheaper to get things elsewhere. For example, the dollar store near my house sells Powerade for $1.00 a bottle. I can get the same bottle at the grocery store across the street for $0.69 a bottle on sale, and anywhere from $0.79 to $0.89 at Kroger regular-priced.

2. Making Your Own Everything Will Cost Less Than Buying Stuff Pre-Made. 

DIY is great, and sometimes does save you money. But be careful before jumping in to buy materials for projects: Sometimes it really IS cheaper to buy stuff pre-made, especially when it comes to clothes, notebooks, and growing/canning your own food. Take a few minutes to do the math and figure out the price difference before committing to making something from scratch if saving money is your goal.

3. Buying in Bulk is Always a Money Saver. 

Per ounce, buying things in bulk generally does result in savings. However, buying in bulk also usually requires paying more total. Let's take a look at this example:

Medium Bag of Rice - Total: $2.99 (price per ounce: $.20)
Huge Bag of Rice - Total: $5.99 (price per ounce: $.14)

As you can see, buying the huge bag of rice does save you money per ounce, but requires more cash up front. This is OK if it's a product you eat a lot of, but use caution. A second problem with buying in bulk is that certain foods can go bad quickly, and if you don't manage to eat all ten pounds of those bananas you bought in time, you will end up actually throwing away your money.

4. The People on those Extreme Couponers Shows Are Saving More Money Than Anybody Else!

Yep, people who massively stock up on coupons can save hundreds of dollars in a single shopping trip. BUT keep in mind that many families featured as "Extreme Couponers" have a family member who does not work, and spends all their time rounding up newspapers and organizing their thousands of coupons. Now, having that person home all the time may save the family money in other ways, like in childcare costs. For those of us without kids, though, (single or otherwise) I can guarantee you that working even twenty hours per week will put more money in your pocket than sitting at home cutting coupons all day ever will.

... Wishes for another frugal week, friends!