Frugal Fun: Podcasts

I know that I’m late to the game, but in the past year I’ve gotten really into podcasts. Since I have an iPhone, I am easily able to download a wide variety of podcasts right on my phone. I listen to them while I cook, when I go to the gym, and during my drive to and from work.


I love that podcasts offer an option for every interest. They are one of the few remaining forms of entertainment that doesn’t require using your eyes (kinda hard to watch TV while driving). And, last but certainly not least, podcasts are an extremely frugal form of entertainment. All of the podcasts that I listen to are completely free (well, you need the internet and some device to listen on, but who doesn’t have that already?).

Today I’ll share a few of my favorite podcasts, some of which help me save money even beyond providing free entertainment!

This American Life

This American Life (TAL) might be the original podcast. It broadcasts an hour-long episode each week. Each episode is based around a common theme and shares 3 or 4 “acts,” which are true stories relating to that theme. I like that the stories on TAL aren’t the kind of thing you would hear about elsewhere. I also appreciate that TAL often uses excerpts from other podcasts. Through this, I have been introduced to several of my other favorite podcasts.

Serial and Undisclosed

Unlike TAL, which tells different stories each week, Serial (from the creators of TAL) follows a single story throughout each season. The first (and so far only) season covered the murder of high school student Hae Min Lee in 1999, for which her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed is currently in jail. The podcast attempts to uncover additional information about the case to determine what really happened and who really murdered Hae. The story is told in an extremely compelling manner, leaving you waiting with baited breath for each new weekly episode. Two more seasons of the series are expected, although to my knowledge the topics have not yet been released.

If you loved Serial, you can also check out Undisclosed, a spinoff that revisits the case against Adnan Syed in great detail from a legal perspective.


Invisibilia is an NPR podcast that “explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.” It discusses very ephemeral topics, such as the role that categorization plays in our lives, or what it is like to live with a physical inability to feel fear. I really enjoy the mix of scientific and anecdotal information and the way the authors come at questions from so many angles.

Mo’Money Mo’Houses

Mo’Money Mo’Houses is by far the youngest podcast that I listen to. I’ve been following Jessica’s blog for years now and I was excited when she announced that she was adding a podcast to the mix. Each episode is an interview on a topic related to personal finance, ranging from frugal travel to investing. I’ve picked up a few financial tips from Jessica’s guests and I’m looking forward to her future episodes.

What are your favorite podcasts (or other forms of free entertainment)?

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8 thoughts on “Frugal Fun: Podcasts

  1. I love Fresh Air on NPR. So Money and the Fianancially-Blonde Podcast are my two favorite personal finance podcasts.

    I binge listen to podcasts when I’m working around the house!


    • I’ve heard good things about fresh air. I’ll have to check it out! I also listen to podcasts around the house, while cooking or cleaning. Makes boring tasks much more fun!


  2. I’ve been listening to podcasts obsessively since 2006 and I’m probably subscribed to 30 or so right now. Here’s some of my favorites:

    Mystery Show: I was just warm on Serial, but I love this one, which solves a mystery every episode. Starlee Kine tackles them, and they never involve a grisly murder.
    Stuff You Should Know: This is kind of like required listening if you listen to podcasts at all. Each episode is different and you can listen to the topics you want to learn about.
    Radiolab: Like This American Life, but with a science bent.
    For comedy: Mike & Tom Eat Snacks, The Best Show, and Breakfast Quest.
    I listen to most of the Slate podcasts. Politics, culture, current events.

    I also always have to recommend a long-gone podcast called Rosemary Goes To The Mall. Rosemary Williams is an artist who wanted to put together a wall-sized piece showing every bag from every store in the Mall of America. But she couldn’t just ask for a bag from each store. She had to shop at every store, get the bag, and return what she bought later. Each episode of the podcast is about a different trip to the mall. It’s just a monologue about going to the mall, but so interesting to go along for the ride. I think it’s about 25 episodes long, and it was in 2006 or 2007.

    Also, technically something like Dawn & Drew or the Keith & The Girl podcast would be the original podcast since This American Life was a radio show for years prior. Sorry to be the podcast pedant.


  3. My sister had mentioned she listens to murder mystery podcasts and finds them to be entertaining as well. I’ll check out Serial, you sold me! I usually listen to just financial podcasts, but I think its time I come out of my comfort zone.


  4. I love The Lively Show, Elise Gets Crafty, and I just started listening to The Food Blogger Pro Podcast (also new, and very well done!). I am all about podcasts when I go for walks or runs, and when driving from place to place.


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