Superbowl party on a super-low budget! Monday, Jan 26 2015 

Hey gang – are you ready for some (frugal) football?
I have to tell you, as much as I usually ignore the sport in general, even I’m getting excited for this upcoming game.  It’s been a few weeks since the holidays, we’re all sitting around in freezing snow waiting for springtime to throw us a bone – this is the perfect time for some indoor sporty celebrations!  If you’re thinking of getting the gang together for a Superbowl party, fear not – it won’t break the bank!  With this frugal festivities checklist, your Superbowl party costs will deflate faster than a Patriot football (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Your party needs three things to truly succeed – food, beverages, and space to get loud and safely move around (including, but not limited to, wild hand gestures, jumping on/off furniture, hurling small objects, and swearing loudly at the television – depending on your guest list).  Take a look at the room where the game will be watched – haul in as many soft chairs and large sitting pillows as you can.  Not only will it provide extra seating, you’ll be amazed how well it absorbs sound.

Let’s move on to the food – believe it or not, the Calorie Control Council (which I didn’t even know existed until 5 minutes ago) estimates that Superbowl partiers will consume on average 1200 calories during the game!  If you’re having 5 or more people over, those food costs add up huge!  As with all parties, I have one word for you: DELEGATE.  Make sure everybody coming to your party brings a solid contribution of snacks, soda, and/or the beverage of their choice.  The day before your shindig, hit the local Warehouse stores for amazing deals on snacks and sodas and stock up – don’t worry if it turns out you bought a bit too much.  It’ll come in handy for post-game celebratory snacks days after the game, or worst case scenario, a post-game nosh to drown your sorrows when your beloved team loses.

As for food and snack choices,  I have one solid bit of advice that I beg you to take seriously – skip the wings.  The price-gouging on chicken wings in the days before the Superbowl are downright criminal, I mean come on!  We’re talking about scrawny little chicken wings, mostly skin & bone, going for $2 a pound or more!  Give me a break.  Here’s the silver lining.  For the last few years, I’ve noticed time and again how the supermarkets are stocking up on way too many wings – the week after the Superbowl, I’ve seen deals on chicken wings for $0.69/pound or less!  Wait it out, the wing gods will look kindly on you.

Last but not least, the beverages – you know I’m not much of a drinker.  I save my calories for important stuff… like chocolate. Now I’m not suggesting that you go with a dry party for the Superbowl.  I’m basically being told that’s like celebrating Valentine’s day without using the color red.  However, next to over-priced wings, alcohol is without a doubt a party budget buster, one with an easy fix.  Make sure all of your drinking guests bring something with them.  Simple as that.

Here’s to a fantastic game with family, friends & awesome food – frugal on!
Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living.  She co-hosts WCHE 1520’s Morning Show, and “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs Tuesdays at 4P.  She resides in Chester County with her family.  You can find her online at

Five Frugal Moves to Save big $$$ in 2015 Monday, Jan 26 2015 

Hey gang – Happy 2015!  So far, my biggest goal for the year has been “Don’t freeze to death.”.  Simple, measurable, I like it.  However, high on my 2015 Goal List is also a serious determination to take our household spending to dramatically low levels, while still keeping a high quality of life.  If you’re like the millions that are ready to stockpile a lot more of your hard earned cash this year, read on for easy moves that will save you thousands.

#1 – Buy yourself a cup of coffee.  If you’re a caffeine addict like I am, get yourself to the local Dollar Store and stock up on a week’s worth of coffee travel mugs for $7.  Each day you brew your delicious caffeinated goodness at home (rather than buy it at your local convenience store), you’re saving yourself $1.50/day.  That’s $500/year back in your pocket by year’s end, and you’re still getting your morning caffeine hit.  Everyone’s a winner.
#2 – Invest in a local Warehouse Club card.  Case in point: your local BJ’s in Downingtown, where a Membership card costs less than $50!  Buying all the basic staples of my cupboards & refrigerator at BJ’s (bread, produce, butter, milk, meats) I often save at least $40/week on groceries compared to shopping elsewhere.  Boom, that $50 membership card just paid you back $2000 in one year’s time.   Nice return on investment!
#3 – Learn to love your local library.  I’ve spoken to people in serious debt who still think nothing of an expensive monthly cable package, not to mention regular purchases of magazines, books and DVD movies at full price, only to look at them once and them put them on a crowded shelf.  Sound familiar?  Behold, your local library, where all of the above are free.   If you’re normally spending $20 or more a week on entertainment like magazines, movies & books, you just saved yourself another $1000/year.  You’re welcome.
#4 – Hit your local Goodwill at least once a month.  There are fantastic locations in Exton & Thorndale that never let me down.  I’m constantly finding outstanding items in there for easily 80-90% off retail.  Home furnishings, kid’s clothing, shoes, suits, gifts, you name it – they’ve got it, for a fraction of retail.  I don’t call it “Tiffany’s for Tightwads” for nothing – It’s a perfect money-saving haven for busy families.
#5 – Dinner’s on!  There’s a staggering statistic out there that states the average American family eats out at last four times a week, with an average $50/check for a family of four.  That can add up to $200/week.  No good.  Trust me, I know being a working parent can be exhausting, but you know what can be even more exhausting?  Realizing next December that you worked hard in 2015 to support a $10,000/year restaurant habit.  Keep it simple, put some spaghetti in a pot at home and have the kids set the table while you throw together a couple of salads.  Et voila – a great dinner with the ones you love, and thousands more in the bank.  Frugal On!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show host, Columnist and Author of “Brilliant Frugal Living.” She co-hosts WCHE 1520’s Morning Show, and “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs at 4 p.m. Tuesdays. She resides in Chester County with her family. You can find her online at

Inexpensive last minute gifts they’ll love! Monday, Jan 26 2015 

Okay guys – it’s December 23rd – it’s crunch time.   The entire month has flown by at Mach 2, and you’re looking at a somewhat scary list of people you have yet to shop for.   You’re not alone!  Read on for effortless, fabulous gift ideas that your family and friends will love, that you can put together inexpensively in minutes.

Gift Cards – one of my top picks.  Adults love them, kids love them, they’re highly appreciated and they’re used quickly.   For adults, best bets are gas stations that have not only fuel but excellent coffee – clearly Wawa & Sheetz get top marks.  Come January, just imagine the look on your broke buddy’s face when they had to run out the door without their caffeine fix and see they’re hitting “E” on the gas tank as well.  They’ll pull your gift card out of their pocket and sing your praises all the way to the coffee stirrers.

Magazine subscriptions – in today’s economy, people are cutting back on the fun little luxuries, including magazine subscriptions.  Think about your gift recipient’s favorite hobbies (Sports? Cooking? Hunting? Fashion? Decorating?) then get online to buy them a year’s subscription to a fantastic magazine – or two – that they can look forward to month after month.  Boom, gift giving is complete.

Homemade baked goods – these are still such a hit, and honestly not that hard to create – no mixers required!  Why?  Because in my book, if you take a tube of ready-made cookie dough off the supermarket shelf, and cut it open at home, slice them down into odd-shapes and let the kids add tons of sprinkles and/or icing, that counts as homemade.   It’s appreciated, it’s customized, it’s delicious to boot.  If you’ve got an afternoon to spare, carve an hour out to get these in the oven, let them cool, put them into some inexpensive tins and watch the lucky recipients dive in!

Lottery tickets – Honestly, I’ve never been into the lottery.  Odds are just slightly against my winning (don’t I wish), and I’d rather put my cash into a good cup of coffee.  That being said, there are so-ho-ho many people out there practicing their “Oh my GOD, I WON!” faces, and you and I know they’d love a ticket – or two – to put in their pocket.   Make their day, and make it clear that – if they win – you get a 10% commission.  Everyone’s a winner.

Dollar Store Gift Baskets – These gems have saved me too many times to count!   Easily made within 5 minutes for $5 or less at the Dollar Store.  They have it all gang – gift baskets, colorful shredded paper for fluff, coffee mugs, candy, cookies, chocolate, snacks – even small crafts and toys for kids’ baskets.  Et voila!  The possibility for hundreds of gift combos (all for $5 or less) await you!

This Christmas, I’m hearing from people right and left who find themselves even more cash-strapped (and time-strapped) than last year.  Trust me, whatever you give your buddies, they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness more than anything.  And if you’re subsidizing their caffeine intake as well, hey, what’s not to love?  Frugal On!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show host, Columnist and Author of “Brilliant Frugal Living.” She co-hosts WCHE 1520’s Morning Show, and “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs at 4 p.m. Tuesdays. She resides in Chester County with her family. You can find her online at

Readers send in Fabulously Frugal Holiday Shopping Finds! Monday, Jan 26 2015 

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukah, everybody!   With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, I sent out a Social Media Challenge to our fabulous DLN readers to share some of their favorite money-saving, gift buying hot-spots.  As usual, they came thru with flying colors!  Read on for some of your fellow DLN’ers top tips for inexpensive, elegant gift giving.

Maggie T. of West Chester swears by the big warehouse stores, especially BJ’s – “I love the one-stop shopping, the gifts are wonderful, and not overpriced.  I honestly get more than half my Christmas shopping done there in one trip.  I find myself buying a lot of books as gifts too, and BJ’s has all of the good ones.  One of my favorite things there are the baked treats, especially the cookies.  My 7 grandkids spend a lot of time at my house during the holidays, and it’s easy to have fresh cookies and goodies in the house when I make a trip there. They also have good heat-and-eat side dishes that I’m going to be using for Christmas dinner.”  Thanks, Maggie!  And Girlfriend, I’m with you.  Hands down, some of the best prices around on food, gifts, toys & batteries.

Leslie K. of Exton makes Goodwill her first big stop when she goes holiday shopping – “I have four sisters, and we all love fun purses and lots of jewelry.   Budgets are crazy tight this year, but I always find awesome designer names for purses, shoes, sweaters, jewelry, you name it.   It’s without a doubt one of the best places you can shop in Chester County.”  Amen sister!  I’ve got two younger sisters, and we will forever adore our bling!  Also just found two lovely Christmas outfits for my rapidly-growing kids at the Goodwill in Exton.  Katie’s dress was originally priced at $180 (I know because the tag was still on it), and I got it for $10! Robbie’s Christmas suit only cost $6, it’s so adorable – and he’ll probably outgrow it by the end of January.

Carmen S. of Downingtown loves to shop local for gifts, and finds that restaurant gift cards are one of the best gifts she’s ever given.  “They’re a hit every single year – most of my family & friends have cut back on eating out to save money, so when you give them a gift card to Buca Di Beppo or some other great local restaurant, you know they’ll like it and they’ll use it – especially when she adds a handmade “gift card” for free babysitting while her friends enjoy a well-earned evening out.   Talk about a huge hit of a gift!

These are just a few of the fabulous emails & texts I got from DLN fans – I want to hear from you as well!  If you have a favorite Chester County shop where you’re finding amazing holiday deals and bargains, find me online at  Frugal on, everyone – Merry Christmas!

A Fabulously Frugal Thanksgiving! Thursday, Nov 13 2014 

If November is going to fly by has as fast as October, it’s going to be Thanksgiving before we know it. While many consider Thanksgiving to be firmly in the Top Ten of major holiday stressors, take it from me, it doesn’t have to be! Read on for some fabulously frugal proven strategies to keep your Thanksgiving joy high and your bills (and stress) at all-time lows!
Rule #1 – Keep the main dish simple. I lean towards turkey, but I’m old fashioned that way. That, and it makes the house smell fantastic. Believe it or not, I’m hearing from women who are already stressing at the idea of creating their usual main dish trifecta of ham, turkey and some kind of lasagna or fish – what are they nuts? One and done is my rule, and it saves me tons of stress, not to mention money, oven space, and room for leftovers in the refrigerator.
Rule #2 – There’s nothing wrong with delegating. Even the simplest of lovely Thanksgivings have at least a dozen moving parts – side dishes, snacks, desserts, flowers, etc. Nowhere is it written that you have to do it all by yourself, so quit trying! Everyone invited to your Thanksgiving table is going to want to contribute, so grant them their wish. Put your flower-loving friend in charge of a centerpiece, your chocoholic buddy the job of a dessert or two, your wine connoisseur the job of a good bottle or two of wine and your organic gluten-free guru Aunt a side dish or three. Play your cards right, and all you’ll have to do is produce the main dish. You didn’t hear it here, but when you’re in charge of doing just a turkey, there’s nothing wrong with calling a nearby meat market that offers baked turkeys for pickup on Thanksgiving day. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard from people who have, and the word on the street is that they’re divine.
Rule #3 – Remember the reason for the season. It’s called a day of “Thanksgiving”, not a day of “Stress to the point of a nervous breakdown”. The whole idea for a day of thanks was to spend a day with family and loved ones, reflecting on our blessings, and offering up some heartfelt thanks. Oh, okay and maybe some football. Using the tips above, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy a great meal with your family and friends, linger over dessert and coffee, and cheer for your favorite football team… just the way the Pilgrims intended. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Fabulously Frugal Football! Thursday, Nov 13 2014 

For this week’s money-saving Column, I’m embarking on new territory – sports! Namely, football. I started thinking about this subject matter when I began hearing the costs of season tickets for the big football teams – what are they, nuts? We’re talking about thousands of dollars for season tickets. Do the Commissioners think suddenly people don’t have a mortgage to pay anymore? Between ticket costs and the latest NFL headlines, I got seriously frustrated until somebody told me about the amazing fun that could be had on the local college level. I didn’t believe it myself until I went with Victor to a Temple Football Game down at Lincoln Financial Field a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m officially hooked. So much fun, and so reasonably priced! Read on for some fabulously frugal reasons why Temple Football tickets (and local Colleges in general) are a great way to enjoy football without breaking the bank.
Reason #1 – College Football is fabulously affordable family fun – Temple tickets for kids on game day are only $7. You can’t even get into a movie theatre for that price anymore, and with football, you’re even getting a little fresh air while you’re at it.
Reason #2 – Temple plays their home games at Lincoln Financial Field. I never had a chance to check out this awesome venue before. Pretty impressive!
Reason #3 – The tailgating. With college football, people have taken tailgating to the level of an Olympic sport. Totally impressive. Come see firsthand how people manage to pull lawn chairs, grills, coolers, two hammocks, a bean bag toss game and four kids out of a standard minivan.
Reason #4 – It’s football played right. I might sound like an old lady, but when I’m watching the NFL on television, I cringe every single time I watch a tackle – it’s like watching somebody being mugged! With college football, I feel like I’m watching the sport the way it’s supposed to be played – reasonable tackles, nobody dislocates a body part, loses consciousness, or misplaces an eyeball. Nice.
Reason #5 – The Marching Band. I was in marching band when I was in high school, and you just never get it out of your system. Temple’s marching band is awesome!
Reason #6 – PJ Walker. Holy Mackerel. I’m not even into sports, and even I can tell that this young man is something amazing to watch on the field.
I’m looking forward to heading back to Lincoln Financial Field when they face East Carolina on Saturday, November 1st. The food is fabulous, with any luck the weather gods will be kind, and following the game on 11/1, all kids ages 14 and under – with an accompanying adult – can go onto the field and catch a touchdown pass! Not bad for a $7 ticket. Go Owls, and frugal on!

Saving for College 101 Thursday, Nov 13 2014 

I just found out September is officially considered “Saving for College” month. This seemed cool and insightful until I found out it’s also the official “Eat Chicken Month”, “Fall Hat Month” and “Pleasure Your Mate Month” (look it up if you don’t believe me!). With recent headlines screaming about the skyrocketing cost of college (and this being a family newspaper), I’m leaning towards a “Saving for College” theme for today’s Column. Trust me, once I go thru the math, the numbers will be so downright sexy it might qualify for the “Pleasure Your Mate Month” too – bonus!

When people read that a child born today could face college costs of $150,000-$250,000 down the road, they often give a shrug of resignation, as though attempting to save would be futile at best, humorous at worst. Well, never fear – not only do I seriously doubt the numbers, but I’ve also got two easy tips that will take you to your goals in leaps and bounds.

Tip #1: For big results, think small, and watch it add up huge – Between now and the SAT’s, chances are excellent your kids are going to have a few birthdays & celebrations. Make them work to your kid’s future advantage by making it clear to family and friends that (depending on your child’s age), whatever amount they want to spend on a gift, spend half on the gift, another half on a contribution to their college savings. Anyone who has attended a child’s birthday party knows that the toy/gadget overload is usually of biblical proportions – the only thing more impressive is how bored the child is with it 48-72 hours later. Case in point – I was raised in a wonderful household in which my childhood birthday parties were a fantastic, memorable affair with friends, family and lots of gifts, and for the most part, I can’t remember 1/100th of the presents I received. On the other hand, each year my Aunts, Uncles & Grandparents were encouraged to send me $5, $10 and $25 savings bonds, which went straight into the bank. When I hit Penn State a decade or two later, those small amounts accumulated to pay for three semesters worth of expenses at school. You get the point. Think small, and watch it add up like crazy.

Tip #2: Think outside the Ivy League box – I have nothing against impressive, expensive Universities. The architecture is usually magnificent, and I’m a huge fan of their history. That being said, of all of the people I know who attended Ivy League schools (or other overpriced Universities), more than half were still paying off school loans 20 years later. It’s like having a $200,000 mortgage for a piece of framed paper on the wall. On the flip side, I can personally name eight people in my close circle of friends, family and work acquaintances who attended a local campus or Community College, paid off all of their school costs immediately, and are now earning six figure salaries, with no college debt, as we push thru one of the biggest recessions in history. Enough said.

Whatever your College ambitions, never let an obnoxious depressing headline steer you from your goals – and for more money-saving advice, catch my Show Tuesdays at 4P on West Chester’s WCHE 1520 – did I mention September is also “National Shameless Self Promotion Month” as well? Frugal On!
Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living. She co-hosts WCHE 1520’s Morning Show on Wednesdays, and you can find her online at

Slash your Back to School Budget in Half! Thursday, Nov 13 2014 

According to the National Retail Federation, families are spending nearly $700 per child for back to school costs!  This includes $400+ for clothing and shoes, $100 for supplies and over $200 for electronics.  Even crazier, that $700 estimate is about $85 more than parents spent last year.  If you’re one of those parents whose finding that getting the kids ready for another school year is costing the same as your average mortgage payment, read on for some proven tips to cut that figure in half, effortlessly. The Clothes – we all want our kids to be comfortable and feeling stylish.  But if your budget is as strapped as ever (and whose isn’t?), I suggest a new clothes-shopping strategy that will fill your kids’ closets with the name brands for easily 75-90% off.   Hit your local thrift stores and consignment shops, where every single name brand that you kid loves is waiting for you, in fantastic shape, at rock-bottom prices.  Five dollars for name-brand jeans, two dollars for fantastic tops, $8 for coats and often $5 for beautiful shoes still in their original boxes, never worn.   Trust me, find a fabulous thrift store near you, and try outfitting your child with a name-brand wardrobe they will adore, for a fraction of what you spent last year.

The Supplies – I could be dating myself, but when I was a kid, the back-to-school supplies list was a half-page long, consisting of a notebook, number two pencils, and if you felt like going over the top, perhaps some pens.  These days, a Kindergartner’s back-to-school list of “necessities” reads like a 72-point NASA pre-launch list.   Do yourselves a favor, and take that list first to your local Dollar Store, where aisles of school supplies await you, often for 50% or more off the usual retail prices.  If there’s anything you need that you can’t find at the Dollar Store, then head to the office supply chains to get the remaining items on your list.   With that strategy in action, you’ll easily spend 25-50% less than the national average. The Electronics – Now I know I’m dating myself here, but when I went to school, all the way from Kindergarten to graduating College, the only sophisticated electronics I really needed to get for myself was a calculator, which I think I got for free from the bank.   Now I realize the list of kid-adored, “get-it-for-your-child-or-they’re-destined-for-failure” electronics has exploded in recent years, and it’s all incredibly impressive.  However, might I be bold enough to suggest that the typical American student (from ages 5-18) really doesn’t need their own cell phone, iPad, Kindle or laptop to succeed?    Unless your third grader has a conference call scheduled over their lunch break (doubtful), or your Kindergartner needs to check the Weather Channel app on his iPhone before venturing out to recess (also doubtful), extravagant electronics purchases do not guarantee a successful, thriving student.  Just about every home has a computer (if not, hit the library down the street), and every school out there has a sophisticated computer lab that’s more than adequate.  As for the phones, computers, Kindles and iPads, kids can use the phone and computer at home and the library.  If they truly feel that they need certain electronics as a teenager, let them pay for it themselves with the money they make over the summer – and tell them that they can find last year’s “gotta have” models for about 80% off on Craigslist.  Happy Back-to-School season, everybody!  Here’s to another fabulous year of learning!

Check out Kristen’s website at

Save Money & Prep for Summertime Weather! Wednesday, Jul 2 2014 

Remember last winter, when I was whining non-stop about the extreme cold, record-setting power outages, heating bills, etc? Yeah, me too. I vowed then and there, no matter how hot it got this summer, no matter how much my hair frizzed and I looked like an sweaty extra in a prison-chain-gang movie, I wouldn’t complain about summertime heat. Let’s face it, no matter how hot it gets, you can still drive (no ice on the roads), and in the 90+ degree heat, chances are excellent that power lines won’t cake over with ice and snap like thread. So for a refreshing change of pace, I’m going to instead kavetch about other summertime weather phenomena (severe storms, tornadoes), and how you can prep your household – frugally! – for maximum peace of mind at minimal cost.

First thing to get, a backup generator. If you don’t already have one, think about getting one. Hardware stores everywhere have them in stock, and my favorite online secondhand store (Craigslist) has dozens for sale near you. Best part about buying from Craigslist – those generators are practically new, and usually at least 50% off! Often, the current owner will detail how it’s only been used for 12 hours total during the last power outage, and now they’re upgrading to the newer, bigger model (which will be outdated & ready for Craigslist this time next year…but I digress). One of these discount beauties will save you big stress, multiple costly trips to a nearby hotel, everything in your refrigerator/freezer… you get the point. Biggest money-saving tip – don’t get sucked into buying a generator that will power everything (including the central air conditioning system) in your house – it’s unnecessary overkill. Make sure it can handle your kitchen appliances (except your clothes dryer, you can hang everything outside for free!), and go old school with a window air conditioner and box fans until the power is back up. Head to a hardware store online calculator to determine what size generator you need.

Next: a Weather Alert Radio. It’s uncanny how a good percentage of scary “get to the basement pronto” weather happens in the nighttime hours while you’re sleeping. Get yourself a weather radio that’ll go off every time severe weather is in your area. They’re available everywhere, and usually cost less than $20. It’s great peace of mind. Side note: if you’re in possession of a cell phone that’s more sophisticated than mine (99.9% of you fall into this category), then simply download severe weather alert apps directly to your SmartPhone – just don’t forget to bring the phone to bed with you at night!

Last: Batteries, in all sizes, and lots of them: It’s funny how many of us have all of the sophisticated software necessary to know what the weather patterns are anywhere on the planet, only to have us slapping every flashlight in the house against our palm in the pitch dark of a nighttime blackout because the batteries have gone dead. Check your flashlights now to make sure they’re up to snuff, and have lots of extra batteries at the ready for when they inevitably die out.

Here’s to being fabulously frugally outfitted with all the equipment we need for another fickle summer weather season. Please Mother Nature, don’t make us have to reach for it.

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living. She co-hosts WCHE 1520’s Morning Show, and “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs Tuesdays at 4P. She resides in Chester County with her family. You can find her online at

Slash Food Bills with your local Grocery Outlet! Wednesday, Jul 2 2014 

Summer’s here! The kids are getting out of school and starting their fabulous summertime sports and hobbies, get-togethers and playdates. I love it! Basically, this is the time of year when I swear I can hear them growing – have you got anything like that going on at your house? It’s also a time of year when I’m finding they’re enjoying not only the standard three meals a day, but often in-between snacks as well, all rapidly burned off with best friends, bicycles, skateboards and playground equipment.

When it comes to keeping your family well-fed during this wonderful summertime blitz of activity, look no further than your local Grocery Outlet! Take it from a fellow frugal foodie, one of the best in the area is Swann’s Pantry Grocery Outlet in the Marchwood Shopping Center in Exton – I’ve been going there for years, and it’s my grocery goldmine. All of the brand names that my hard-working family adores, and I’m often spending 50% less than I would at the major supermarkets nearby. It’s divine. If you haven’t hit this place yet, get there pronto, Tonto. Meats for the barbeque, fabulous produce, breads & pastries and a mack daddy bulk food selection – one of the biggest in the area!

Fringe Lifestyle Side Note: Now that my family is really getting big into the whole ultra-hip (read: “ultra-expensive”) gluten-free and/or low-carb lifestyle, Swann Pantry Grocery Outlet has been a lifesaver, offering fabulous goodies for a fraction of retail. One of the best things about this place is that it proves without a doubt one of my favorite frugal rules – that living and eating fabulously doesn’t have to break the bank. “Foodie on a Budget” is no longer an oxymoron – it can be done!

Also, some interesting facts – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household of four people can spend anywhere upwards of $1200/month for groceries. Insane, no? Compare that to my household of four foodaholics, purchasing the best brand names out there, and often spending less than $600/month. Five seconds with a calculator tells me that I’m saving over $7000/year compared to other families of four – that’s some handy coin to stash into savings, pay down debt, add to your kids’ college accounts, or even pay for that next quality-used car with cash.

Whenever people connect with me to ask my advice on how to cut their budgets down to a manageable size, I’m astonished at how few are making use of their local Discount Grocery. If you’re looking to slash that food budget, while still getting the best brand names out there for you and your family, get yourselves to your local Grocery Outlet and watch your food bills plummet faster than you can say “Bon Appetit”.’ Frugal On!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living. She co-hosts WCHE 1520’s Morning Show, and “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs Tuesdays at 4P. She resides in Chester County with her family. You can find her online at

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