Frugality commonly gets a bad rap. People hear the term and they believe it means you reuse your dental floss and other extreme actions. That’s not what it means to be frugal.
Frugality allows you to spend in line with your values, allowing you an opportunity to achieve your financial goals. Here are ten simple frugal habits you can employ today to optimize your budget.
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Shop With a List
How often do you go to the store and buy something you didn’t plan to purchase? If it’s more than occasionally, it’s time to start using a shopping list.
You can write one on a piece of paper, use a Google Doc, or use a shopping app that offers the feature. If the item isn’t on your list, it doesn’t go on the cart.
Use Free Streaming Services
Streaming is a fantastic way to save money vs. paying for cable. However, the fastest growing niche of streaming is free ad-supported services.
If you don’t need the latest TV show or movie, you can watch classic TV shows and movies for nothing. Sure, you have a few ads, but it’s free.
Spend Less Than You Earn
This is a tenet of personal finance. If you spend less than you earn, you instantly have resources you can deploy to reach your goals.
Even if you earn a modest income, this can be a powerful way to optimize your budget.
Use the 48-Hour Rule
Marketers do one thing quite well. They part us from our hard-earned cash. Don’t make it easier on them.
If you encounter something you want, sleep on it for 48 hours. After that cool-off period, ask yourself if you can live without it. If so, you avoid the needless purchase.
Cook Your Meals at Home
Americans spend over $3,000 annually dining out. That’s a lot of cash, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
You don’t have to give it up completely, either. Slash your meals out by half, cook at home, and you can claw back $125 a month or more.
Make Your Coffee at Home
A lot of people blame buying coffee out as the reason why many people struggle financially. That may or may not be the case, but if you don’t need someone else to make you a coffee, doing it at home can save you a lot.
Purchase yourself a Keurig and it will pay for itself in a few months.
Use the Library
The local library is one of the best tools to use to save money. Of course, you can get books, but that’s the tip of the iceberg.
You can get free entertainment options, take advantage of free workshops, and so much more.
Track Your Spending
Do you know where your money goes every month? If not, it’s time to track where it goes.
Tracking your spending is the best way to stay on top of your expenses and reign in your costs. If it seems like too much work, use a free budget app to do the work for you.
Shop at Dollar Stores
You don’t always need to go to Target to purchase essentials for your home. A dollar store can be a terrific alternative.
You can’t get all you need at a dollar store, but why pay more for essentials than you need to?
Automate Your Savings
It’s not uncommon for many people to forget to save money. Life gets busy, and they forget to do it.
If that’s you, automation is your friend. Pick an online bank, such as CIT Bank, that pays a competitive rate and charges no fees. They set up the transfer for you, so you don’t have to worry about growing your savings account.
It’s really that easy.
35 Proven Ways to Save Money Every Month
Many people believe it’s impossible to save money. Or, they think saving $20 or $50 a month won’t amount to much. Both are incorrect.
There are many simple money-saving tips that can add up to big savings. You just have to start one, then another, to increase your savings.
How to Multiply Your Money
Get-rich schemes are typically scams. However, there are ways to grow your wealth truly. While not flashy, they can help you build real wealth.
7 Steps to Break the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle
Making ends meet is hard on a limited income. However, it is possible to break the cycle and find financial stability. You just need to know where to start.
How to Watch Local TV Without Cable
Do you want your local networks but don’t want to overspend for an expensive live service? You have options.
15 Best Coupon Apps to Save Money
Saving money at the store is as simple as using your phone. Better yet, you can redeem savings for free PayPal money or gift cards. That’s a win-win.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.