Use these uncommon habits of frugal people and see how they can make a huge difference for you, too! These are some quick and easy tips for saving money by changing a few simple habits.
Hey Freebs! Today, we've got Ryan Scribner from Investing Simple, a blog that talks about investing, personal finance and more, here to fill you in on some of the secret habits of frugal people and how they can save you money. So without further adieu, take it away, Ryan! :)
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There is a common misconception out there that in order to save a lot of money, you need to make a lot of money. From my own first hand experience, I have found this to be completely false. In most cases, the amount of money that you save has nothing to do with your level of income.
I have been out of the 9 to 5 lifestyle for over two years now. However, back when I did work a day job, I consistently saved 50% of my income. At the same time, I watched my coworkers spend and spend. Believe it or not, they were making significantly more than me and still living paycheck to paycheck!
We have all heard the common habits of frugality; live below your means, don't go out to dinner, skip the fast food and others. In this post, I will instead be sharing with you the uncommon habits of frugal people that you likely won't hear about elsewhere. These are the exact habits I followed that allowed me to save 50% of my income when I was working. So, let's get started!
HABITS OF FRUGAL PEOPLE AT HOME
These are some of the top uncommon habits of frugal people that you can start doing at home. Try them out and see what a difference they make!
MAKE DRINKS AT HOME
One of the biggest expenses for adults are drinks. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with meeting friends once a week for drinks. The one change I want to suggest is making drinks at home instead of going out to a soda or coffee shop.
A few of my friends would get together for sodas, hot chocolate, or coffee once or twice a week, and that would end up costing each of us around $10 a week. What we started doing instead is going to the grocery store and picking up everything that we need to make our drinks at home. We all pick out what types of flavors we want and save money in the process. By doing this, we reduced the cost from $10 to around $2 a person.
Estimated Savings: $24 A Month
PREP YOUR MEALS AT HOME
I got on the meal prep bandwagon a few years ago for health reasons, but there are also financial reasons to do this as well! One of the biggest money wasters is buying food and beverages out of the house instead of bringing them from home. I used to buy a breakfast sandwich and a coffee in the morning on the way to work and then buy lunch later on in the day.
Eventually, I sat down and calculated the cost and realized I was spending $20 a day on food. Not only that, I was also about 20 pounds heavier from the fast food fix! I started prepping my meals at home and putting them in reusable microwave and dishwasher safe containers. This saved a ton of money and led to a much healthier lifestyle.
Instead of buying a breakfast sandwich, I made oatmeal at my desk and got a 4-cup coffee maker. For lunch, I would bring in food I cooked at home for the week ahead. I recommend prepping all of your meals for the week on Sunday!
Estimated Savings: $75 A Week
READ OVER YOUR BANK STATEMENTS
If you were trying to lose weight, would you count your calories? Of course you would! You would log your food and portion out meals. This seems like common sense, yet most people don't apply this simple concept to their financial health.
If you are trying to be more frugal, you need to be aware of your financial consumption. Now, I'm not saying that you have to log every purchase in a journal. But what you do need to do is look over your bank statement monthly.
I'm a big fan of doing this on paper. You can print out your statement and highlight some of the spending items that jump out at you. Got a few unused subscriptions? Cancel them! Spending too much at Starbucks? Time to cut back! Trying to save money and become more frugal without looking at your spending is like trying to lose weight without looking at what you are eating.
Estimated Savings: $25 A Month
CANCEL YOUR CABLE SUBSCRIPTION
Seriously, cancel it. I understand that millennials are far less attached to the cable than previous generations, but your cable TV subscription is costing you money in more ways than just the bill that comes in the mail each month.
First of all, consider the opportunity cost. Every hour you spend watching television is an hour you will never get back. Ready for the real shocker? According to a Nielsen report, the average US adult is watching 5 hours and 4 minutes of TV a day.
The other way that your cable subscription is costing you money is from viewing more ads. Commercials are designed to do one thing; get you to spend money! So, cut the cord and take advantage of free alternatives like YouTube, or cheaper subscription services like Netflix.
Estimated Savings: $85 A Month
FOLLOW THE “1 FOR 1” CLOTHING RULE
When I was in high school, I worked in the men's suit department at JCPenney. It was a great summer gig, but it ended up instilling a bad habit of shopping in me. I'll openly admit it, I used to be a bit of a shopaholic.
Later on in life when I was working my 9 to 5 job, I would go to the mall once a week to walk around during lunch and I would always end up buying something. Then, I would get home and toss it in my closet where it would sit untouched for the next 6 months. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Here's the solution: the “1 for 1” rule. If you buy a new shirt, you have to get rid of a shirt. If you buy a new dress, you have to get rid of one! This rule will help you save money and keep your closet more organized (just like Jordan). It is easy to spiral out of control with shopping, especially for clothing! For most people, the pain of getting rid of an article of clothing is enough to stop you from buying a new one. You likely have all the clothes you need already!
Estimated Savings: $75 A Month
HABITS OF FRUGAL PEOPLE WHEN YOU'RE OUT
You can really be tempted to spend money when you're out and about. Rather than falling into the same money-spending hole time and again, follow these uncommon habits of frugal people and see just how much money you can save when you're out of the house.
STOP BUYING SOUVENIRS
This is a simple one, and a habit I still follow to this day! I remember being on vacation at one point, stressing out about finding the right souvenir for myself to remember the trip. Then the realization hit me that cheap souvenirs were not something I needed more of in my life.
I had a fridge covered in magnets and about a dozen baseball caps in my hall closet. You don't need a stuffed animal or a cheap mug to remember your trip. You have the photos and the experiences to look back on.
This doesn't just apply to vacations, either. Consider fairs, festivals and even farmers markets! People often feel compelled to buy something to remember the experience. You simply don't have to! If your family members give you grief about not bringing them home a souvenir, take a few of your favorite photos you took and have them printed out for them.
Estimated Savings: $100 A Year
LEAVE YOUR WALLET IN THE CAR
As I mentioned earlier, I used to go to the mall once a week to walk on my lunch break. This was even more frequent in the winter, when it was too cold to walk outside. I found that every time I did this, I ended up buying something.
I would walk by GNC and end up grabbing a new workout supplement. Or I would browse the clearance section of Peebles. Ready for the simple fix? Leave your wallet in the car. This will force you to do one of two things.
First, you would simply decide that you don't need whatever you are looking at. Second, you will have to come back to buy the item, giving you time to consider whether or not you really need it. There's a reason why they call these “impulse purchases.”
Estimated Savings: Possibly a lot if you like to shop when you don't need anything!
HABITS OF FRUGAL PEOPLE WHEN YOU HAVE TO SPEND MONEY
Sometimes you absolutely have to spend money on things. Make sure that you do your research and follow these habits of frugal people to ensure that you get your money's worth.
DRIVE A USED CAR
Back when I was working my 9 to 5, I had one heck of a commute. I had to drive 45 minutes to and from work, for a total of an hour and a half each day. I was putting a lot of miles on my car, which at the time was an old Honda CR-V.
Driving a used car gives you the advantage of having no car payment. However, you should expect to put a few hundred dollars into maintenance every few months. In my case, I had to put about $500 of repairs into the car every 6 months to keep it running.
Ultimately, this comes down to preference. Would you rather have a fixed vehicle cost each month in the form of a car or lease payment? Or would you rather have occasional car repairs?
According to Credit Karma, the average new car payment is $550 per month! Driving a used car could easily save you hundreds each month, even after factoring in occasional repair bills. At the very least, buy a certified pre-owned car instead of a brand new one.
Estimated Savings: $300 A Month
BUY QUALITY ITEMS
About 10 years ago, my dad bought a Weber grill. At the time, it cost him $250, which seems like a lot to spend on a grill. However, this summer when I went over to my dad's house for a cookout, he was still cooking burgers on that same grill.
So, how much did that grill cost? Most would say $250. But the right answer is $25. The cost of owning that grill has been just $25 a year, and each year that he owns it, that number shrinks.
In contrast, my friend's dad would buy a cheap grill every year. He would spend $70 on a cheap grill that was essentially scrap metal at the end of the season. Buying cheap stuff will almost always cost you more in the long run. Instead, invest in quality items that will last you a long time and take care of them!
Estimated Savings: $150 A Year
CONSIDER THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF ANYTHING YOU BUY
This is one of my favorites. It is a common tactic in sales and marketing to get you to focus solely on the upfront cost of something. This beautiful puppy is only $1,000! This jacuzzi could be yours for just $5,000!
Well, guess what? These types of purchases are going to cost you a lot more than the upfront cost. Now, don't get me wrong. I am a dog lover, and the long term costs of pet ownership are totally worth it in my opinion! So, lets instead use the jacuzzi example.
This actually stems from a personal story. My dad ended up buying a jacuzzi tub for his backyard. What he did not realize was the long-term costs associated with this. After he got his tub, he was shocked when he got his electrical bill.
It was January, and his bill jumped $100. Not to mention, the cost of chlorine and other routine maintenance. These are aspects of hot tub ownership that the salesperson left out for a reason. Whenever you make a purchase, always consider the long-term costs and not just the upfront ones.
Estimated Savings: $250 A Year
OTHER UNCOMMON HABITS OF FRUGAL PEOPLE
Here are the last two habits of frugal people that are possibly the hardest to stand by. However, practice and thinking outside of the box can get you where you need to be!
LEARN HOW TO SAY “NO”
Here's the cold hard truth; not everyone is going to understand and support your new frugal lifestyle. For that reason, it is very important to learn how to say no! Your friends and family members will ask you to go out to dinner, for drinks or to go shopping with them.
It's important to understand that you don't need to say no at first. You could start with a compromise. As mentioned earlier, it is much cheaper to get together with your friends at home. If your friends and family are unwilling to compromise, it is totally okay to say no. You are focused on delayed gratification while they are still caught up in instant gratification.
Estimated Savings: $50 A Month
GIVE THE GIFT OF YOUR TIME
Okay, I'll admit this one sounds a little tacky. But try it out! Instead of buying things people do not need for birthdays and holidays, give them your time instead. This could be something as simple as a fun day trip, or even a coupon booklet with different activities you could do together.
A basic human need we all have is the desire for quality time, and this is often times the greatest gift you can give someone. Instead of buying your son or spouse the “latest and greatest” gadget, go for a day trip! Just don't buy any souvenirs. ;)
Estimated Savings: $500 A Year
At the end of the day, frugality comes down to establishing habits. We can all be on our best behavior for a few days or even weeks. But real change comes from turning something into a habit and making it stick. I'm not saying that you have to do all of these things, but these are the exact habits I followed that allowed me to save half of my paycheck each month.
Hopefully you can now see that the amount of money you save has nothing to do with how much you earn! You could earn $40,000 a year and save 25% of your income. Or, you could be a $100,000 salary earner living paycheck to paycheck. So, what habits of frugal people are you going to adopt? Let me know in the comments!
If you need more help with your budget, be sure to check out Jordan's Budget Boot Camp program! It's a video program that makes money easy to understand.
Use the code FCFBLOG to get an extra 10% off. And she'll even give you your money back if you don't save at least how much you paid. Pretty awesome!
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