Some can say that being frugal is simply being pragmatic with money. Having disposable income is a liberating asset. Who would pass up on having the opportunity to buy anything on a whim? But in time (if not already) you will discover an interesting trend – money can just vanish through the cracks, like spare change in pockets with holes. But, thankfully, there are workarounds on how to save money.
Running out of money due to miscalculations or due to irresponsible spending habits is not rare among working people. More often than not, money can run out before the essentials are paid for.
Doesn’t matter how well-off you are in the financial sense, there are always revisions to make and expenses to trim. To make an educated choice on specific expenses to cut, you need to personally quantify what’s useless and what’s not.
Why do we spend more?
It’s a vicious cycle, and no one is entirely safe from it. Shopping can act as a sort of therapy for some people; an addiction, always procuring more of something just to satiate the incessant habit of buying.
Surprisingly, people with high incomes tend to say they don’t have money as well; that’s because their newly found lifestyle permits them to spend more and in time, it becomes a necessity for them.
On the flip side, people with low incomes tend to say the same thing. This is to be expected. But what is the common theme here? Is financial freedom dependent on something?
How much you spend is directly influenced by how much you earn. Expenses and revenue work in tandem.
Being a cheapskate has a nice set of perks that go along with it. And if you are not rich with money, you may be rich with time. We get taught about saving money from an early age. Use it to your advantage in everything you do.
Spending money and buying things is not the only pleasure in the busy life of a person. But frugal lifestyles surely will demand some concessions and sacrifices. Most frugality guides seem to target people with high incomes, so hopefully, this will slightly alleviate the problem. All the money saving tips are outlined below.
Manage Your Finances
Essential, if you intend to keep track of everything. There are tools for that, but you can use simple pen-and-paper. There’s no need to overcomplicate things by having to remember all of your expenses, just put everything in writing. Write down your inbound and outbound payments and always account for your cash.
Outline a weekly plan with all expenses pre-planned, and don’t go over budget.
Make sure you have a backup in case of an emergency. Like paying for a taxi, or finding an Australian essay writing service for a quick fix of academic troubles.
Keep Track of What You Have
Rediscover your wardrobe and inventory. There may be a nice t-shirt you once bought for a special occasion or a frying pan you got as a gift that never gets used. You don’t need to buy anything for a second time if you already have it.
Avoid Using Credit and Debit Cards
You’ll lose a hefty amount on service fees and commissions.
If you can’t get rid of those cards in a speedy manner, you should at least try to avoid over drafting them; you will simply drive yourself into a hole with crippling debts.
Stop buying things you don’t need, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t like.
Rent, food, means of transportation and work expenses are vital. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s probably time to kick that habit in the bucket.
Buy What You Need and Plan Ahead
This suggestion goes along with weekly expenditure plan outlined earlier. Decide on what you want to cook a few days and advance and buy in bulk; it will be cheaper.
Fight the Instant Gratification. Refuse to Buy on Impulse
This goes along with the previous suggestion. When something flashy and exciting catches your eye, try to analyze the idea for 20-30 minutes. Or a couple of days if need be. Do youreally need it? Will you use it often?
If you are a music fan and you’ve seen a rare vinyl repress of J. Dilla’s «Donuts,» think of your rent, food, and other essentials. That will put things into perspective.
Buy electronics online
This is self-explanatory. Compare the prices of your item between online retailers like eBay or Amazon. Online stores have timed discounted offers on a regular basis. And, as always, many retailers have special occasions for Black Friday and Christmas. On average (even without discounts, promotional campaigns, and rebates) the price will still be lower.
Wait for Discounts
Patience is a virtue. Fight the desire to buy at full price, since patient people get rewarded with discounts and promotions. Discounts can be plentiful, but you also shouldn’t buy things simply because they are discounted. Even though having the opportunity to buy something at 75% off is hard to resist, getting things you don’t need are a massive drain on funds.
Buy Generic/Unbranded Products
Consider downgrading from expensive products to lesser known ones. You will save money and get roughly the same effect from them.
Moderation is key. Besides, those aren’t that healthy to begin with. A change in expenses demands a change in lifestyle.
Don’t Eat Out and Don’t Buy Takeaway Food
Frugality and eating at home go hand in hand. Restaurants and cafes are convenient but aren’t cheap. You will get more value by buying in bulk and preparing food a few days in advance.
Not the cooking type? Well, it’s never too late to learn
The daily caffeine hit is a big deal, but what you’re paying for (or overpaying rather) just for the convenience. Make your own coffee.
This suggestion also applies to fast food, carbonated drinks, teas, hot-dogs, chips, crackers and snacks in general. Limit your pizza and fast food intakes; your body will thank you later.
You know what is also a good replacement for coffee? Purified water.
Cable television is great, but even HBO makes a switch for streaming services. Those are cheaper and more convenient. Home media like Blu-Ray movies also often get discounted, and if you ran out of video games in your backlog, wait for a seasonal sale. Media and games get devalued rather quickly (anywhere from 3 to 9 months) and you can save a lot of money on your entertainment.
You can also visit a library for a change; there is also that.
Walk More and Drive Less
Our jobs are a part of the daily routine. There are always things to do and places to be. If you’re not clued in already, transportation is costly, especially in the major cities.
Now, the intention is not to entirely throw out transportation out of your commuting regime, but to limit it slightly.
Also, as an alternative, bikes are popular right now, and many cities get increasingly environmentally-friendly with bike lanes which are separated from pedestrian lanes for convenience.
Besides, walking is healthy. You will burn calories, get your blood pressure in check and get something to do to get your mind off things.
Travel Abroad Less
Annual vacations are a staple, but those can put a huge hole in the pocket. Always leverage your financial goals with your desires.
Sell Your Junk
Not really a frugality suggestion per se, but if finances are strict, this should be worth the effort.
Do you have something you don’t need anymore? Get rid of it by using an online marketplace. There is no room for sentimentality in the modern world, but there is room to make some cash by selling broken appliances. There is always a buyer for something. But make sure to keep your expectations in check, you won’t get rich.
Wash the Car Yourself
Dust is horrible. Sand is coarse, rough, irritating and it gets everywhere. Join the light side and wash the car yourself, Anakin.
Do All the Repairs Yourself
You have the perfect opportunity to become a handyman in your household.
Have you broken your kitchen sink? Fix it.
A lightbulb needs switching? Screw it.
A nail needs to be hammered into the wall? Just do it.
You don’t need to employ a third-party to do this work for you.
Spend to Save in the Future
Buy quality products that will last and don’t skimp out on regular health check-ups; you don’t want your health bills to pile up and take you by surprise.
Work on Past Mistakes and Ask Others to Share Their Frugality Experiences
You are not the only one struggling to keep your accounting in check. Get some additional ideas from those people. You might be surprised with unusual methods.
Keep Yourself Busy
You will not have time to think about spending money once you’re fully immersed in your job or a hobby.
Keeping yourself busy is also helpful with keeping invasive thoughts out of your head.
Take up fitness, yoga, bouldering, hiking, soccer; have conversations with your friends on interesting topics, switch up something about your routine. All of the best things in life are free, remember that.
Keep Everything in Balance
Equilibrium is vital everywhere. If you go to greater lengths to save money, may end up eating expired food, wear clothes with holes in them and use barely functioning electronics. You are not doing yourself any favors.
Try to keep everything balanced, and always remember about your happiness.
Robert Everett: I am a freelance writer currently based in Chicago. Solving students career and university problems. Having interest in marketing and business.