PSA: frugal and cheap are not the same thing! Changing just a few habits can make a world of difference, and don't worry, you can still have fun while living a frugal life. Here are twelve uncommon habits of frugal people that just might change your life.
There is a common misconception out there that to save a lot of money, you need to make a lot of money. From our experience, this is entirely false. In most cases, the amount of money you save has nothing to do with your income level. So, what's the secret sauce?
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We have all heard the common habits of frugality; live below your means, skip the fast-food line, only pay with cash, and so on. But in this post, we thought we change it up a bit! Read on for a dozen uncommon habits of frugal people. If you follow these tips, your bank account will start to grow! So, let's get started!
HABITS OF FRUGAL PEOPLE AT HOME
Alrighty! When you think about frugal living, maybe you picture yourself packing food to eat on vacation or scouring the internet for coupons. In reality, frugal living starts at home! Here are a few habits you can start today at home. Try them out and see what a difference they make!
MAKE DRINKS AT HOME
Here's a harsh reality. Adults throw hundreds of dollars out the window each year just buying drinks! Gulp. So, here's an easy challenge: start making drinks at home instead of going out to a soda or coffee shop.
If you go out for sodas, hot chocolate, or coffee even once or twice a week, and that can add up to $10 or more each week before you know it. Buy the ingredients at the store and start making those fancy drinks yourself! We've got copycat Starbucks recipes and a Swig soda recipe to share. #YoureWelcome
Estimated Savings: Up to $40/Month
PREP YOUR MEALS AT HOME
One of the biggest money wasters is buying food and beverages during the workday instead of packing them. How many of you buy a breakfast sandwich and drink on the way to work and then buy lunch later on in the day? Money, money, money. Monayyyy. (Go ahead, sing it with us)
Now sit down and do the math really quickly. That's $20 a day on food. Start prepping your meals at home and putting them in reusable microwave and dishwasher safe containers. Your bank account will thank you, and you'll save yourself a ton of time at lunch!
Estimated Savings: Up to $75/Week
READ OVER YOUR BANK STATEMENTS
If you were trying to lose weight, would you count your calories? Duh! 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 spending. We're big fans 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: Up to $25/Month
CANCEL YOUR CABLE SUBSCRIPTION
Speaking of subscriptions, it might be time to kick your cable to the curb. Seriously, cancel it. That subscription is costing you money in more ways than just the (outrageous) bill you have to pay each month.
And guess what else happens while you're watching TV? You see ads. And those 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. You can even stream sports online now! Give it a month, and we bet you won't even miss it!
Estimated Savings: Up to $85/Month
FOLLOW THE “1 FOR 1” CLOTHING RULE
Raise your hand if you can't resist a good sale. Hey, we're not opposed to snagging a good deal here and there, but every sale you shop adds up! Want to keep your spending from spiraling out of control? We've got a simple solution! It's called 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. For most people, the pain of getting rid of an article of clothing is enough to stop you from buying a new one. And let's be honest; you likely have all the clothes you need already! (Sorry, but it's true!)
Estimated Savings: Up to $75/Month
HABITS OF FRUGAL PEOPLE WHEN YOU'RE OUT
Alright, let's talk about how you keep your frugal habits on track while you're out and about. Easier said than done, right?! We won't sugarcoat it. It's hard. But it's SO worth it! 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. (Spoiler alert: you can save a TON.)
STOP BUYING SOUVENIRS
This is a simple one! Who here is guilty of bringing home souvenirs from every trip? Hey, no shame! We're guilty of it, too. But here's the thing: those cheap souvenirs aren't worth it, you guys.
Maybe you have a fridge covered in magnets and about a dozen baseball caps in your hall closet. Or a shelf full of snowglobes, stuffed animals, or cheap mugs. How often do you really use those things?! Be honest. Stop wasting all that money and just take lots of pictures! They're wayyy better souvenirs anyway.
Estimated Savings: Up to $100/Year
LEAVE YOUR WALLET IN THE CAR
Ready to try something crazy? When you're out running errands, leave your wallet in the car. Say whaaaat?! Yep. We said it. This will force you to do one of two things.
First, you might decide that you don't need whatever you are looking at. Second, you will have to come back to buy the item, which gives you time to consider whether or not you really need it. Buh-bye “impulse purchases.”
Apply this principle to online shopping, too. Leave an item in your shopping cart for a full 24 hours before you hit that purchase button. Nine times out of ten, you'll probably change your mind!
Estimated Savings: Who knows? Hundreds!
HABITS OF FRUGAL PEOPLE WHEN YOU HAVE TO SPEND MONEY
Okay, as we said earlier, being frugal and cheap are not the same thing! Sometimes you've gotta spend money, and sometimes it actually pays to spend a little more. That doesn't mean you have to pay full price, though! Frugal people do their research and follow these habits to get the most bang for their buck!
DRIVE A USED CAR
Driving a used car gives you the advantage of having no car payment if you can pay in cash. Just don't forget to budget for unexpected repairs and maintenance! Those costs usually aren't covered for a used car, and repairing an older vehicle can get costly.
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! Ouch! 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: Up to $300/Month
BUY QUALITY ITEMS
About ten years ago, one of our friends bought a Weber grill. At the time, it cost him $250, which seems like a lot to spend on a grill. But guess what? This summer, when we went over to his 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 correct 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. #Winning
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: Up to $150/Year
CONSIDER THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF ANYTHING YOU BUY
This is one of our favorite tips! Sales and marketing pros are experts at getting 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? Those are both going to cost you a heck of a lot more than the upfront cost. Now, don't get us wrong. We're dog lovers here, so if you ask us, the long-term costs of pet ownership are totally worth it! Just make sure you budget for those cute little furballs.
Let's talk about that fancy jacuzzi for a minute, though. Here's a true story. Remember that friend of ours who bought the nice grill? Well, he decided to buy a jacuzzi tub for his backyard, too. Let's just say, when he got his first electrical bill after buying that hot tub, he was shook.
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: Up to $250/Year
OTHER UNCOMMON HABITS OF FRUGAL PEOPLE
Here are the last two habits of frugal people that are possibly the hardest to master. We know you can do it, though! A little practice and creative thinking can help you achieve your goals.
LEARN HOW TO SAY “NO”
Here's the cold hard truth; not everyone will understand and support your new frugal lifestyle. So it's essential to learn how to say no! Your friends and family members will ask you to go out to dinner, take that weekend road trip, or go shopping with them. Before you say “yes,” consider your budget. If you really want to go, are there other things you can give up in the short term?
It's important to understand that you don't need to say no at first. You could start with a compromise. Get together with your friends at home for a game night instead of going out to eat. And 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: Up to $50/Month
GIVE THE GIFT OF YOUR TIME
Alright, this might sound a little tacky to some, 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 oftentimes 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: Up to $500/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. We're not saying that you have to do all of these things, but if you follow these habits, then you're guaranteed to save money!
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 us know in the comments!
If you need more help with your budget, be sure to check out our 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. We'll even give you your money back if you don't save at least how much you paid. Pretty awesome!
Looking for more frugal tips?
- Save money fast with a spending freeze.
- Follow our simplest envelope budgeting system and see just how easy it is to stick to your budget.
- Stick to the 3-month rule when it comes to making big purchases.
Cheers to frugal living!