Frugal living is not something that happens overnight. It’s a lifelong journey guided by our habits and decisions when it comes to money. Making small changes on a daily basis can have a substantial effect on our lives.
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Here are 13 frugal living habits to start living by today!
1) Always think long-term when making decisions
Don’t get cheap people confused with frugal people. There is actually a difference. Cheap people always look for a quick fix, something that will benefit them immediately. Frugal people are always looking for a long-term solution.
Get into the habit of thinking long-term when making purchases, especially “big” purchases. Things like appliances, cars, and houses should be thought of as a long-term investment. These are items you want to get the most value out of in the long-term.
Being able to sacrifice your desire for instant gratification and a fast solution will save you a ton of money.
2) Always seek the best value
Whether it’s a new pair of sneakers or a meal from the grocery store frugal people always seek the most value. Frugal living is all about getting the most value out of your money.
Instead of buying quantity start thinking about quality. You want your purchases to continue to work and provide value years down the road.
3) Never pay full price
Using coupons and deal shopping is what frugal living is all about. A frugal person is always looking for the best deals around and planning shopping around them.
It’s important to note that just because a store is having a “deal” does not mean it’s a deal for you. Unless the deal is an item you need it’s not worth buying. Understanding wants and needs come into play quite a bit. Start a good habit of learning to decipher between the two.
Remember everything is negotiable!
4) Put saving right into your budget
Have you heard of the saying “always pay yourself first”? This means that you should always put money into your savings/investment accounts before spending your money on other things.
A good habit is to automate your savings. Not only do you want to budget your savings right into your monthly budget, but having them on autopilot is also a great habit.
We use Personal Capital to manage our money electronically and automate our savings.
5) Buy a smaller modest home for frugal living
Banks will often approve you for a mortgage much higher than you can comfortably handle. Stop listening to their advice! A home is the largest purchase in your life and it’s not a liquid asset (can sell quickly). Purchase a small modest home that you can easily afford.
A good rule of thumb for knowing how much your mortgage should cost is 25%-30% of your monthly take home. Since your home is such as a large portion of your budget be realistic when deciding where to live.
Remember that buying is not for everyone. Renting might be a better option depending on your individual situation.
6) Use everything until you can’t any longer
It’s true, we both wear our shoes until they have holes in them and our pinky toe starts to stick through.
Frugal people have the habit of using everything to the very last drop. This includes cars, clothing, tools, disposables, machines, appliances, and more. The longer you can use something the more money you save.
If you truly want to start frugally living, get into the habit of using everything until it’s no longer possible.
7) Use your handyman skills to repair and reuse
Learning how to repair and reuse your own items can save you thousands of dollars each and every year. A car is a great example for this.
A car is a great example for this.
Learning how to replace your own brakes and complete your own oil changes can save you hundreds of dollars by its self. Add in some drywall repairs, driveway sealing, roof patching, electrical work, and plumbing and you are now a money-saving savage.
The saying “knowledge is power” is so true. Most basic handyman/repair skills can be learned by a simple search on YouTube, Google, or Pinterest.
8) Learn how to entertain yourself at home
Leaving your house for entertainment is almost a guarantee you are going to spend money. Learn how to stay entertained at your house. Buying a device like an Amazon Fire Stick is a great way to stay entertained at home.
Get into the habit of never leaving the house without a plan in place. Going out for entertainment is not a bad thing, but keeping it in moderation is a great habit.
Some great at home entertainment ideas include campfire, dinner with friends, game night, DIY projects and movie nights.
9) Cook for yourself / Don’t eat out
We are a huge proponent of this habit! Since we don’t “value” eating out we don’t and save thousands each year by not doing so.
Eating out is EXPENSIVE! Anytime someone else is making, serving, and cleaning up your food you are going to pay a premium. Learn how to cook for yourself at home. There are a plethora of great recipe ideas on all over the internet.
Start with some basic meals and work your way up. You will soon find that cooking at home is actually fun and the money you will save is insane!
Have you heard of $5 Meal Plan? They make cooking at home super simple giving you your meal plans and grocery list to purchase.
10) Have an emergency fund
One of the most important aspects of personal finance is having your emergency fund set up. An emergency fund a set amount of money put away for unforeseen expenses such as car repairs, deaths, and surgeries.
The last thing you want to deal with during an emergency is where the money is coming from. Take the stress off an already stressful situation and have your emergency fund set up. This will also prevent you from going into debt when something comes up and you don’t have the money to pay for it.
Normally $1,000 set to the side is more than enough for an emergency fund, but everyone’s situation is different.
11) Find a credit card with great rewards
If you are responsible with your money then using a credit card with great rewards is a no-brainer.
Once you have decided your responsible enough to use a credit card decide what kind of card you are looking for. Do you want a travel rewards card? Cashback? Building credit? A great source to compare cards and see which ones fit your needs best is creditcards.com.
We personally value travel far more than anything else. With that being said we obviously use a travel rewards credit card to earn miles and save up for free vacations.
12) Buy a used reliable car
This is a very debated topic for some reason. Buying a used car should be your only option when it comes to frugal living.
Cars are a depreciating asset so “investing” in a new car or even worse financing one can kill your financial future.
Use a website like Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds to research, compare, and find the value of cars. After completing your research, go on a site like Craigslist and start a search for cars that are of good value. We also always use Consumer Reports when purchasing a car.
Buying a reliable car is important in steering clear of large expensive repairs. Brands like Honda and Toyota are always rated top notch when it comes to reliability.
13) Never gamble
Did you know the average American spends $300 a year playing the lotto? What a waste of money! You have better odds of getting struck by lightning twice in the same day.
Although casinos and playing the lotto can be very enjoyable for the rush of winning it big it’s not a good habit to be in. Save your money and put it elsewhere that’s more important in your life. Better yet invest that money.
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