We all know that it is important to live frugally. That doesn’t mean stocking up on 47 bottles of mustard, it just means making the most of your money and making wise decisions on how to spend it.
I’ve actually got FIFTEEN habits that frugal people follow! If you aren’t doing some of these, why not? It may actually be easier than you realize!
1. They use coupons (the right way)
This one is simple. Frugal people clip coupons and pair them with sales. They can scope out the deals at the store and always find the best ways to save on groceries and things they need.
The important thing to note about frugal people is that they do not just use a coupon because they have one. Coupons are not a magic pass to make a purchase you would not make otherwise. They are simply meant to increase your savings towards those items you need.
Of course, if you’ve never used coupons, it may seem overwhelming. Relax because I’m here to help! Just click on over to our Simple Guide to Using Coupons to get started. You will also want to check out our extremely comprehensive and searchable Coupon Database to find the coupons you need.
2. Do not waste food.
I can be guilty of this one from time to time. I sometimes don’t eat up the produce or other food products I’ve purchased before it goes bad. In addition, my family and I don’t always eat all of the leftovers from the meals we’ve prepared during the week. This is horrible of us and we work hard not to do it, but sometimes, it just happens.
Frugal people will never over buy and end up throwing out food. They also make sure to eat up those leftovers be it for lunch the next couple of days or even a “repeat” meal during the week. The way they do this is they menu plan. They don’t just determine what they will have for dinner, but also snacks and lunches for school and work. It really is not difficult, but if you need help with this, check out our tips to help create your own menu plan and shopping list!
3. Shop clearance (but wisely).
When it comes to clothes, frugal shoppers know that the clearance rack can be his or her best friend. You can shop at the end of the season, to buy ahead for next year. This goes for both them and the other members of their families.
Of course, they also know when something on clearance is a deal they need. They don’t just buy it simply because it is 75% off. They make sure it is an item they truly need. Emotion and the thrill of the deal do not drive frugal people to shop.
4. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s.
This can be tough for many. You see your neighbor has the newest 55″ Smart TV or hot new car sitting in their garage. You know they make about what you do and you figure that if they can afford, why can’t you? WRONG!
Frugal people do not compare themselves to anyone else. There is a saying that reads “Do not compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” We all have different financial goals. While your neighbor may have the latest items he or she could be deeply in debt, where you are working hard to get out of debt.
Find contentment in what you have rather than what you think you need.
5. Keep communication open.
This is one of my best tips. You need to continually communicate with your spouse, partner or significant other about your finances. My husband and I meet at least twice a month (usually more) so that we both know how the bills look, to discuss goals and just make sure we are on the same financial page. We discuss any possible expenses we know may be coming up and even have a chance to plan what we want to spend on our vacation, kids’ birthdays and more.
Read More: How To Talk to Your Spouse About Your Budget
6. Don’t fall for name brands.
When it comes to electronics, high end name brands are not always the best way to go. Frugal savers will do research prior to making any big purchase. They take the time to read reviews and may find that a less popular brand not only costs less, but has better reviews than the big name company!
Check out Consumer Reports for some of the best reviews (and use the code PennyPinch to save 20% off of your subscription).
7. Find joy in the simple things.
When it comes to a date with your favorite person, do you go for the dinner, movie and then coffee? This can be expensive!! Why not find joy in something simple. A walk. Roasting marshmallows in the fire pit. Star gazing. There is no rule that says to spend time with your spouse, partner or significant other you have to spend a lot of money (and if you have kids, that can be even more costly when you add in the cost of a sitter)!
My husband and I will often fix the kids dinner and then, after they’ve eaten and had baths, we will cook dinner together. Then, when the kids are in bed, we will just watch one of our favorite DVR’d shows. That costs us nothing, but it so great to just be alone with him, on the sofa, just the two of us! When it is nice outside, we will make an “adult beverage” and sit out on our deck and enjoy the evening – giving us a chance to talk.
8. Live within their means.
During the housing boom several years ago, many Americans became house poor. They were buying more house than they could afford. But, you ask, didn’t the bank approve the loan? Yes. Yes, they did. However, just because you are told what you can afford according to the bank’s terms, you need to look at your budget and determine what you want to spend! Saving $400 a month on your mortgage frees up money you can put towards something else (like saving for those unexpected household expenses).
Read More: How to Painlessly Live Beneath Your Means
9. Drive older vehicles.
What many people do not realize is that there may be very wealthy people living near where you reside. These people are not recognizable by many because people think that they drive a car that is several years old, so they must not be able to afford one. That could not be further from the truth!
Just because you can afford a car payment, why would you want one? Frugal people know that they should purchase a car they can afford and then drive it as long as they can. Then, rather than giving a bank a monthly car payment, they “pay themselves” and, after a few years, they have the cash they need to purchase another — slightly used vehicle. Frugal people never buy new!
10. Keep priorities in mind.
When it comes to spending money, a frugal shopper thinks about family, security and their future. If the item doesn’t meet one of these needs, they will often pass. That is of course, not to say that we can’t splurge and spend money on ourselves once in a while, but it means that we don’t allow emotion to drive the purchase. Instead, make sure it is something that will truly make a difference in your life before handing over the money.
11. Give unto others — within their budget.
I’m sure you’ve all had that family member or friend who seems to spend a lot of money on your or your kids for birthdays and holidays. That can make you feel guilty and like you need to spend more. That is hogwash!
You should only ever spend what your budget allows. If you plan on spending just $20 for a birthday gift, then that is what you can spend. If the recipient thinks you did not spend enough, then that is on them (they certainly missed the point that you are not required to ever give anyone a gift).
12. Eat dinner out once a week (or less).
This is a tough one for many. The reason is usually convenience. You get home from work and do not feel like cooking. I totally get that. However, if you create a menu plan and shopping list, you will always have the items you need on hand to whip up dinner every night.
For me, I actually make sure our weeknight dinners are simple. I never plan anything that takes longer than 30 minutes to prepare (and will try to utilize my slow cooker when I can). That way, I don’t feel overwhelmed that dinner will take too long to get ready. By planning and shopping, everything is on hand and I can have a guilt-free dinner on the table every night of the week.
Read More: How to Create a Menu Plan
13. Recognize quality vs. price.
Just because something is less expensive does not always mean it is the best deal. Here is an example of what happened to my daughter. She wanted some tennis shoes. She looked at two pair – one was $25 and the other was on sale for $45. She decided to go for the $25 pair (but I wanted her to get the $45 as they seemed to be made better). Turns out, I was right.
After a month, the $25 shoes ripped. So, there we were, back at the store forced into buying new shoes. Of course, they were no longer on sale and she needed something. So, I paid $55 for her shoes. I’d now spend $80 on shoes for her. Had we spent $45 initially on a better pair of shoes, I’d have been ahead financially.
Take a minute to compare to make sure that you are getting the best deal for your money.
14. Have clear set goals.
We all have goals be it professional or personal. You may want to get that promotion at work. Perhaps you would like to drop that extra 10 lbs you put on over the holidays. However, do you have financial goals?
Frugal people always have these goals. They can be as simple as get $3000 in the bank to invest so I can retire a millionaire. Everyone’s goals are different, but they all have them. They are written down, often with a plan, so that they know how they can achieve them. Having these goals often keeps spending in check as they would rather put that $50 towards a goal rather than pick up that latest video game.
15. Dropped cable.
With all of the services available these days (Netflix, HuluPlus, ESPN Go, etc.), you can actually cut your cable altogether and never miss a show! Just make sure you get a streaming box or device so you can catch those shows on your television (you will need one device for each set you own). You can find deals on Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku players and even Google Chromecast device.
What tips do you have to add to our list?