The reason why anyone would want to be frugal is to spend less than you earn and use the difference to pay off debt, save and invest. Also, frugality is relative. Find out what’s important to you and plan accordingly, but don’t spend money just because it’s there. As is wanting something and needing something. As long as you can live without it, it’s a want.
Being frugal means being sparing, prudently saving and not wasteful. On the other hand, there’s this other word called cheap defined as being stingy or miserly. An example. It’s frugal when you spend $30 on a good quality dress than $10 on one from a discount store that falls apart after a few washings.
Below are 49 frugal habits that you can use in your life to prepare for the moments that matter.
- Always use both sides of computer printer paper if possible.
- Replace all your house’s incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. It lasts 10 times longer, uses 75% less energy and produces 75% less heat than incandescent bulbs.
- Turn off lights, TV, etc. when not in use. Even if it is 5 minutes, it adds up.
- Instead of buying new ones, repaint furniture.
- Declutter your house every year and give away old but usable items like clothes and books to relief centers, red cross, thrift stores, etc. Not getting money back reminds you to be more careful with what you buy in the future.
- Use the non-donatable towels, t-shirts, and other absorbent fabrics in place of paper towels and disposable cloths for wiping up spills, polishing furniture, washing windows and cleaning bathrooms.
- Clean mirrors with old newspapers. It works much better than fabrics.
- Line dry your laundry if it’s less than 10 pieces of clothing and if there is space to spare in your home. It’s not that hard to take a few minutes to hang them up. You’ll save a lot in electricity, plus your clothes last longer.
- Buy tupperware. It lasts forever.
- Never throw away a bag before its time. Produce bags for clean stuff. Grocery bags for dog walks. The new style ziplock bags last about a year. Just wash and dry them.
- Don’t buy bottled water. Drink home filtered or boiled water from your kitchen.
- Soak jam jars in hot soapy water, peel off the labels and reuse them for storing bits and pieces.
- Eat homecooked. Not only will you save money, but you will also be healthier. When you cook, you can control the amount of fat and sugar in your meals.
- Stock up for the homecooked days of the week. Write up a grocery list and walk through the grocery store to compare the best value for money brands instead.
- Meet your friends or date for breakfast or lunch. Dinner is always the most expensive meal if you’re eating out.
- Use only PREPAID credit cards. Cut up all other credit cards. The average American household with at least 1 credit card has more than $8,940 in credit card debt.
- Shop with cash. Withdraw a certain amount of money that you can afford to spend for the month and spend it until it’s gone.
- Don’t shop. Don’t go to the mall or other shopping area or department store to look around and shop. Go to a store if you know what you need, and then get out. Many times people go shopping, with a vague idea of what they want, and get caught up buying much more. Here are 30 common mistakes shoppers frequently make at the supermarket.
- Watch movies on movie day when tickets are cheapest. That’s about $5 a day, and assuming moderate 52 weeks of doing so, that’s another $260 in your pocket. I’d use it for a nice bottle of wine, dinner at a good restaurant and buy those gorgeous shoes flat out in cash. Watch only movies rated “Fresh” in rotten tomatoes or above 7/10 in imdb. Download the rest.
- Make your own popcorn, caramel coat ‘em poppers as much as you want, put it into a brown paper bag, and take it to the cinema.
- Always ask “Is this the best price you can give me?” once before paying to places you are a regular to like the mechanic, clothes boutique, hair salon, etc.
- And if the price is too high, bargain it down. $15 too much for a vacuum cleaner? Throw in that electric screwdriver for an even twenty.
- Try making it a habit to only buy quality clothes that are on sale or clearance.
- If you know that a birthday is coming up, you can buy a gift on sale instead of spending more at the last minute.
- Coupons work well for brand-name shoppers who use them consistently, but you can save by purchasing store brands, too.
- If you live in a developed city, try using public transportation.
- If you have a cruise control and there isn’t a whole lot of traffic, use it. It keeps the speed constant and you don’t have to accelerate.
- Refuel your car either early in the mornings or late in the evening. Early as in before 9am and late as in after 9pm. The reason lies in petrol becoming denser at lower temperatures. The pumps measure the volume of fuel that you pump, not the actual density and as a result you get better petrol price economy.
- We all deserve a get-a-way every once in a while. Making careful planning ahead always helps reduce cost and it’s also less stressful.
- You get cheaper rates for flights and hotels when booking ahead.
- If you love traveling like I do, try to stay with friends or relatives. If you wanna make new ones and learn other cultures, I highly recommend registering for this super duper cool site.
- Consider train travel.
- Shop around for car rental rates if it is more convenient and efficient than public transport.
- Practice preventive maintenance. Get your health, dental checkups regularly. Service your car regularly. Keep your house gutters clean. You will head off any possible minor problems before they become expensive problems. Create a maintenance checklist that you can attach to the item. For important things like your car’s oil changes or tune-ups, put them where you can see them.
- Keep track of your cashflow. I highly recommend Mint.
- Alternate your smoking habit. For example, if you smoke after every meal, skip breakfast, do lunch, skip dinner. Best of all, quit smoking. Savings go by the thousands each year if you stop. Here’s how you do it.
- Plan your family carefully. Use a condom at all times. It’s a 50 cent solution to not have more kids than you can afford and ensuring your family a better quality of life.
- You don’t need to spend $100 on your hair when you can dye it at home for $10.
- Switch to a cheaper mobile phone plan that suits your needs.
- Frock exchange. This is more for the fashion+cost conscious ladies. Exchange your clothes with your friends. Keep things fresh.
- Keep on trying till you find a hairstylist that suits your style that charges reasonably. It’s even better if you are comfortable cutting your own hair.
- With the wealth of information and entertainment online, do you really need magazine subscriptions? With all the news online, do you really need a newspaper subscription?
- Use Skype for long distance conversations. Or any other IM that has video chat functionality.
- Don’t buy a new one, if the old one is still running fine. I still don’t have an iPhone because my Motorola v3i works just fine.
- If you can complete your errands by walking, walk. It’s like killing 2 birds with a stone.
- If the gym fees are reasonable and it motivates you to work out then by all means carry on. If not, you can always jog around your housing area, swim if you live in an apartment with a pool or near a beach. You can even make use of the stairway!
- The only loans that you should keep is a mortgage and a partial car loan, although you should try to avoid the last one by just having enough savings. Pay the car loan off asap. Never forget that the only reason loans and credit exist is that the providers expect to make money. Your money.
- Stop online impulse buys. Realize that online buying can be way too easy (you don’t even have to go to a store) and therefore, we make too many impulse buys. Buy online if you really need something and it’ll save you money, but beware the impulse buy. Otherwise, you gotta take the steps necessary to curb your bad habit.
- Pay your bills on time. Even if you only pay a bill a few days late, your account may have already received a late fee.
If you buy things you don’t need, you’ll soon sell things you need
Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving
Beware of little expenses; A small leak can sink a large ship
The borrower becomes the lender’s slave