Maybe you're already living that frugal life, or maybe you're still wondering how to get started. Either way, these highly effective habits of most frugal people will help you make the most of your money. Frugal living doesn't mean going without or not being able to spend anything at all. It also doesn't mean you have to clip coupons and stock up on 75 bottles of ketchup!
Don't get me wrong, you can definitely cut your coupons and build your stockpile if that works for you! I'm just here to share what I have learned and how these habits have completely transformed my spending.
10 Highly Effective Habits of Frugal People
I cannot stress how important budgeting is to achieving and maintaining a frugal lifestyle. It's not only making a budget, but sticking to it! Most times, you will see that it's not the large expenses that drain your account, but the little expenses that add up, leaving you wondering where all of your money has gone.
I highly recommend having a serious budget meeting! Check out The Budget Meeting - $1,000 Monthly Savings to see how I was able to shave $1k off!
2 EXPENSE TRACKING
Tracking the dollars has been the single most important money changing habit and has made the biggest financial impact on my spending. Once you get your head around where every dollar goes, it's so much easier to see where you need to make changes. Now, I think twice before making a purchase, asking myself is this really worth it. Nine times out of ten, it's not and I put it back!
I would suggest actually writing it down. Check out Why The Dollar Tracker Makes More Cents to see what I do.
3 The 30-Day Rule
This basic principle is huge when it comes to avoiding impulse buys! If you see something you want, wait 30 days before making the purchase. Chances are you will realize you don't need it or forget about it altogether. After 30 days, if you're still stuck on it and it's not unreasonably priced, go for it! (Just don't forget to write it down on your Dollar Tracker!)
FYI - My husband is apparently on a 120-day rule when it comes to purchasing a grill.
4 Swap With Friends
This is a nifty alternative to purchasing universal items, such as games, puzzles, books and music. You could do the same with clothes, shoes, purses and accessories. The possibilities are endless when it comes to sharing within your circle!
5 Find Cheaper Alternatives
We all have certain non-negotiables! For me, it was my vitamin regimen. I simply was not willing to give it up, but I was using a costly subscription service. By shopping around, I was able to save $38/month. That's over $450/year! I break it all down in Back to the Basics: Vitamins.
We were also able to find much cheaper options instead of those pricey loaded teas, even creating our very own recipe, highlighted in Loaded Tea Recipes - DIY.
6 Create Low-Cost Fun
Saving money doesn't have to be boring! Get creative with board games, card games and puzzles. These are great options for passing the hours while also spending quality time with your family. We like to have coloring contests, too! Picnics and scavenger hunts in our neighborhood are cheap and fun activities that also keep my kids busy. Win-win!
7 Bring Your Lunch to Work
You guys, this one habit saves an unbelievable amount each month! By not hitting the drive through or eating out, you are easily saving $8/day at a minimum. That translates to over $2,000/year! Now, you see how little things add up real quick. I have been packing my lunch for nearly a year, and I haven't gotten tired of PB&J yet. I may feel like a little kid taking my brown paper sack to the office every morning, but those savings are worth it.
Side Note: Not eating out also has personal benefits. Check out Six Months Without Eating Out - Woah! where I explain how not eating out at all for six months was life changing.
8 Cancel Unused Subscriptions
We're all guilty of letting the autodrafts keep hitting when we haven't gone to the gym in months, or years if you're me. Oops! How many of you have newspaper, magazine or music service subscriptions that you don't use? Anything you are paying a monthly or yearly fee and not utilizing, cancel it! This can save you tons when added up.
9 Have an Emergency Fund
Most frugal people know and understand that life's little financial surprises will happen. They're inevitable and will usually occur when you least expect it. I'm talking about the flat tires, sick kids, toothaches, AC repair bills and those mornings where you car just won't crank. If you're like me, it all happens at once, but that's just life!
I recommend finding the best emergency fund option for your family, so you won't go further into debt when life happens. Check out The Baby Emergency Fund to see what I did.
10 Discover a Productive Hobby
If you don't already have one, use your newfound frugal lifestyle as an opportunity to develop a productive hobby. These low-cost activities allow you to use your time wisely and may even improve your health and wellbeing:
See, I told you saving money doesn't have to be boring! I'm just living my best frugal life and trying to share the wealth with y'all!
What frugal tips or habits work best for you?