10 Frugal Habits to Live By (and 5 Things to Never Do)
How to Live a Frugal Life
A lot of people seem to have different ideas on what living a frugal life is all about. People compare being frugal vs. cheap, some people think they’re the same thing, and it can all get a bit confusing!
To help you understand frugality a bit better I’ll be going over 10 frugal habits that every frugal person should live by, and 5 things frugal people never do. If you follow these frugal living tips you’ll live a happier life financially and you’ll still get to spend money on the things you love.
Top 10 Frugal Living Habits Anyone Can Follow
1. Get the Most Out of Every Dollar
When it comes to living a frugal life, getting the most value out of every dollar you spend is essential.
For example, before making a big purchase, you should research and compare prices from different sources before buying. This is an easy way to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
This doesn’t just apply to large purchases either, there are tons of ways to get a better bang for your buck whether you’re at the grocery store, buying clothes, or going out for a night on the town. You can use things like coupons, cash back apps, and other services to spend less these types of purchases.
Another easy way to get more for your money is to use a rewards credit card. Just make sure to pay it off at the end of every month!
2. Buy Things That Last
Many people think that living a frugal life is all about finding the cheapest things. That’s simply not true! Frugal people aren’t cheap, they’re smart with their money.
For example, a frugal person isn’t going to spend $10 on new shoes that only last a month, they’re going to spend $50 on a pair of shoes that last for a year. That’s just better value.
So, when you’re comparing frugal vs cheap, remember that frugal people don’t just try to find the cheapest products possible. They find high-quality products that will last and they make sure to get the best price possible (by getting the most out of their dollar, as we talked about above).
3. Buy Used When It Makes Sense
If you’re living on less money, you should have no problem buying used goods. However, this doesn’t mean you should buy everything used. Going back to the point above, you shouldn’t buy something used just because it’s cheap only to have it fall apart a few weeks later.
Instead, only buy used when it makes sense. You can find high-quality used clothes online and in thrift shops, used cars can be an amazing bargain, and used electronics often turn out well too.
4. Spend On What Matters to You
Another misconception about frugal people is that they never spend money or never splurge on anything. For people living the extreme frugality life that may be true, but for the rest of us, we still have to treat ourselves every once in a while!
The important thing to remember is that your splurges should go toward things that bring you joy. Think things like vacations, new shoes, computer upgrades, whatever makes you happy!
By avoiding wasting money on the things that don’t really matter that much to you, you can have more money to spend on the things you love. That’s the wonderful part of frugal living.
5. Stock Up
When you’re living frugally, you’ve got to be able to spot stock up opportunities. Toilet paper on sale? Stock up! Cheap chicken? Stock up and freeze some! There are just so many things you can stock up on!
Once you start noticing the grocery sale cycles at your regular stores you’ll start to recognize deals more easily. You’ll then know exactly when it’s the right time to stock up on something.
You can also check out our stock up deals to find some of the best stock up opportunities on the web.
6. Save for a Purpose
If you want to make frugal living seem like less of a chore and more like a path to a happier life, you should know exactly WHY you’re trying to live frugally. Maybe you’re trying to pay off your debt as fast as possible, maybe you’re trying to retire early, maybe it’s something else.
Whatever it is that you want, write it down and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Once you have a reason to live a frugal life, it will be a lot easier to stick to it when things get tough.
7. Meal Plan
You probably already know that eating out costs a lot of money. That’s pretty obvious! But what can you do if you don’t have time to make meals at home every night?
That’s when you know it’s time to start meal planning! Instead of trying to come up with dinner ideas on the fly every night, plan everything out in one day to save time and money.
Another important part of meal planning is cooking in bulk. Whenever you make dinner, see if you can double or triple the recipe so that you have leftovers for later. Freezer meals work great for this.
Note: There will probably be times when you don’t have anything planned (happens to all of us!), and that’s when one of our 30-minute meals come in handy.
8. Start a Budget
Although you don’t necessarily need a budget to live a frugal life, having one makes things a lot easier. A budget is simply a plan for your money so it can help you reach your goals a lot faster.
Now I’ll admit that at first, budgeting can seem a bit confusing. There are a lot of different types of budgets, and setting one up can seem like a hassle. However, once you get set up, maintaining it is so easy!
If neither of those sounds like the right fit for you, try out the multiple bank account budget. This is one of my favorites as it makes organization and automation extremely easy.
9. Have Cheap Fun
You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun and frugal people know that. Have a board game night at home, play soccer at the park, head over to Groupon for a cheap group activity, or do something else that’s affordable!
If you want to do something with your significant other you can also try these cheap date night ideas!
If a frugal person can do it themselves for cheaper, you know they will! This is just another way to get more value for your dollar.
For example, household cleaning products are a great thing to DIY. You can make them for really cheap at home and they work just as good as the store-bought stuff! Check out our DIY cleaner recipes.
For more DIY ideas, check out our DIY section.
5 Things Frugal People Don’t Do
Now that you have the frugal habits down, it’s also important to reinforce those habits by knowing what frugal people DON’T do.
1. Spend Money They Don’t Have
If you want to buy something that’s $100 and you don’t have $100 in your bank account, don’t put it on your credit card. This is a simple rule to stick to and it will keep you from owing money in the future.
2. Buy Things Just Cause They’re on Sale
Frugal people know that not every sale is a good deal. For example, if something is on sale from $100 to $80, you still need to evaluate whether that thing is worth $80 to you. Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean it’s worth the money.
Another thing that’s important to keep in mind is whether you actually need the thing that’s on sale or not. If you’ve never played tennis in your life (and you don’t plan to), don’t buy a tennis racquet just because it’s on sale.
3. Make Impulse Purchases
Impulse purchasing can really mess up your budget if you’re not careful! To help stop impulse purchases, try using the 24-hour rule.
How this rule works is when you see something you want to buy, you have to wait for 24-hours before buying it. After the 24-hours you can decide whether it’s something you really need or not.
4. Waste Things
Whether it’s food, clothes, cleaning supplies, toiletries, or even just money, frugal people don’t like to waste. Every wasted item is a dollar down the drain.
Luckily, by following the frugal habits above, waste should be automatically kept to a minimum. Meal planning will keep food waste down, DIYing will allow you to repurpose and reuse items around your house, and buying things that last will mean less stuff going into the trash.
Even when it does come time to get rid of something, try to donate it if you can.
5. Carry Long-Term Credit Card Debt
Last but not least, frugal people never carry credit card debt for longer than a month! They may use credit cards for easy rewards and cash back, but they always make sure to pay their cards in full at the end of the month.
Paying interest to the banks because you’re carrying credit card debt is a waste of money. Plus, as long as you stick to rule #1 above and don’t spend money you don’t have, you should always have enough to pay off your credit card bill.
Living frugally probably isn’t the ideal scenario for most people but if it helps you accomplish your financial goals faster, I’d say it’s worth it. Also, once you’ve been following these frugal habits for a while, it will get easier and easier to stick to them.
Speaking of frugal living, I’d love to hear from you guys! What are your favorite frugal living tips? How do you live a frugal life? Let me know!
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