In today’s economic climate, the financial habits you form now can become the bedrock of a stable future. Learning to make frugal choices in your life can help you build a nest egg for your retirement and relieve financial stress in your day to day life. The following is a list of tips for living a more frugal lifestyle.
You may have heard this a thousand times and budgeting may sound like the most boring task, however, creating a rigid budget for your money will help you better understand exactly where all your money is going. Apps like Mint track your debit and credit card purchases and categorize them so you can best track your spending.
Consider trying a zero-based budget to keep track of every single dollar. This will help you keep track of spending, bills and income so you can shape your future spending.
Do you pay extra for unlimited data on your cell phone? What about subscription television services? Do you have Netflix and Hulu? There are also music streaming services, meal delivery services and many more. Nowadays we can pay monthly for nearly any good or service. The key is to prioritize what is most important to us and eliminate waste.
Is a weekly meal delivery more important to you than a second streaming service? Would you rather have unlimited data and music streaming on your cell phone or a monthly shaving subscription? Ask yourself these questions and cut some costs.
3. Avoid Impulse Buys
According to CNBC, consumers spend over $5,000 on impulse purchases each year. The vast majority of these purchases are food and snack related. Luckily, there are simple ways to avoid impulse purchases that you can practice.
Budgeting will help with this but some of it is will power. When you shop for groceries, be sure to eat a full meal or, at the very least, a snack before going to the store. Shopping on an empty stomach leads to more impulse food buys. Carry snacks with you in your car or bag to avoid buying snacks at checkout lanes.
4. Try DIY
In the time of Covid-19 we have heard stories of people trying to cut their hair. The truth is that cutting your hair can save between $150-250 a year. While cutting your hair may be extreme, there are other smaller DIY projects.
DIY stands for “do it yourself.” Learning to do things like changing the oil in your car, planting a vegetable garden, or installing a clothing line instead of running your dryer are all examples of frugal things you can do to keep some money in your bank account.
5. Pay Your Bills on Time
Another tip that may sound obvious is to pay all of your bills on time. This helps you financially both short and long term. Paying your bills on time allows you to avoid late fees that can easily add up to hundreds of dollars. Paying credit cards and loan payments on time will ensure that your credit stays good. Better credit allows you to get better deals on home loans, car loans, and more which helps you in the long term.
6. Avoid Predatory Lending
According to Debt.org: “predatory lending benefits the lender and ignores or hinders the borrower’s ability to repay the debt. These lending tactics often try to take advantage of a borrower’s lack of understanding about loans, terms or finances.“
Payday loans and pawnshops may offer you cash now, but the extremely high-interest rates mean you are paying much more than the original loan amount in the long run.
If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, try looking into microloans or starting a gofundme page.
7. Never Rent-to-Own
Much like predatory lending, renting to own allows you to take an item like a television or laptop home immediately while you make monthly payments on the item. The problem with this is similar to cash-now loans: the interest rates are ridiculously high. You may end up paying $2,000 for a $1,500 computer.
While it may seem tempting to have the latest gadgets as they come out, renting to own always costs more in the end.
8. Put Off Your Phone Upgrade
It is tempting to have the latest gadgets as they debut. New phones have become a sort of status symbol in our society but these things are expensive! Fortunately, most phone companies offer inexpensive upgrades if you have run out of your contract with them. You will have to sign a new contract to get a new phone at a special price, so be sure to research phone companies to see who has the best monthly price before you lock into a contract.
9. Search For the Best Deal
Patience is key when living frugally. When you are making any purchases in your life you want to be sure that you find the best deal. This includes finding sales on paper towels in the grocery store as well as researching the gas mileage of a new car you are hoping to buy. The key is to do your research to find the best deal.
10. Be Sure to Use a Free Checking Account
According to MyBankTracker, the average checking account fee in the United States is $9.60 per month, usually varying between $7 and $12. The reality is that there are a variety of fee-free checking accounts that are easy to set up online without even walking into a bank! You can sign up for a fee-free checking account today and start saving those monthly banking fees for a vacation.
Being frugal means making certain sacrifices, but the payoff usually means a financially secure life with savings for the future. Following these steps will save you money to spend as you please or save for the future.