In the world of overpriced lattes and avocado toast, you find out that life is freaking expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to go about your day with purpose and with a smile without having to empty your wallet for some coffee.
Here are some tips on how to live frugally.
Create a budget
Creating a budget should be step number one. You need to figure out how much you make, then make sure you spend less than that. Cut costs where you can and give your money some direction.
I’ve written about budgeting in the past so here’s how to do it.
Go to the library
Take advantage of your local library. They have hundreds of books, movies, and CDs that you can borrow for FREE.
This prevents you from having to buy, and if you read books, you could learn something useful.
Cut the cord
Cut the cable. With all of the different companies and services out there, you don’t need to pay for TV from your standard cable company.
The average cost of TV services is $103 per month. That just isn’t necessary when you can get Netflix for $11.55 or Hulu for $7.99.
Use coupons. Paper coupons that come in the mail aren’t as common as they use to be, but there are sites dedicated to coupons and couponing like this and this. Plus, coupons on your phone can be scanned at the register.
Plan your meals for the week. When you meal plan, it forces you to create a list. Go to the grocery store with your list and stick to it. With that list, you can also browse those two coupon sites above and find coupons for those items.
Eat out less
Go out to eat less. Most of going out is socializing, so have your friends and family come over for dinner. You can make food at home, which will save you money, or you can make it a pot-luck (everyone brings a dish) and save even more money.
The average household spends over $3,000 per year on eating out. There are so many better uses for that money. Don’t go out to eat. Save your money and eat at home.
Don’t waste food
When you go to the store, make sure you are buying things in appropriate sizes. If you want to buy fruits and vegetables but you know you won’t eat them quick enough, buy smaller quantities so they don’t go bad.
Make your own coffee
The average worker spends almost $15 per week on coffee. It makes so much more sense to buy the grounds and coffee maker to do it yourself.
Added savings, buy a coffee bean grinder, and buy whole beans. That bag is cheaper than the other one with ground beans.
Soda and sports drinks aren’t necessarily good for you. It’s much healthier and much cheaper if you just drink water. Preferably from the faucet, which is much cheaper than drinking bottles, and better for the environment.
Americans spend over $16 billion per year on bottled water. The cost per gallon of bottled water is $1.11. The cost of water from the faucet per gallon is $.003.
Take care of yourself by combing exercise and eating a good diet. The result will be fewer trips to the doctor (savings) and you will feel much better. Here’s how to eat better for less.
Reduce housing costs
Lower your rent or your mortgage by moving to a smaller place. More than likely, you are living in an apartment or house that is more than you actually need. If you want to be frugal, live in a smaller place.
Reduce electricity usage
Turn off your lights when you aren’t using them. It would also help to unplug a lamp, TV, etc. when it’s not being used.
Keep thermostat low
Be a freak with your thermostat. Keep it low in the winter and high (or off) in the summer. This will help lower utility costs.
The average monthly utility bill is just under $200. Here are some ways to save on heating costs during the winter.
Wash your dishes
Save additional money on electricity by hand-washing your dishes instead of running the dishwasher.
Do less laundry
Reducing the frequency of your laundry will help save on electricity and water. Increase the size of your loads so you don’t have to do laundry as often.
Stop using credit cards
If you’re like most Americans, you probably carry a balance on your credit card(s). The average credit card balance is over $15,000, and the average credit card interest rate is 15.07%. This can add up to a lot of money wasted on interest payments.
If you are going to use a credit card, pay the balance off in full each month. If you can’t do that, don’t use one.
Pay bills on time
I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but pay your bills on time. Late payments can incur late charges, which is flushing money down the drain.
This is also bad because your credit can take a hit as well. Your percentage of on-time payments has a high-impact on your credit score.
Buy used when you can
Whether it’s clothing, furniture, or a car, buying used can be an easy and effective way to save. You don’t need new clothes and you certainly do not need a new car, buy used and save some money.
DIY when able
Fixing stuff or making stuff by hand payoffs in two ways. One, you save money on labor by not paying a professional to do it. Two, you feel accomplished because you did it with your own hands.
This is within reason obviously. If you are a novice, you certainly don’t want to bite off more than you can chew.
There are a lot of ways you can save money and live a frugal lifestyle. If there are ways to cut costs that you use, share them below. I’d be interested to see what you come up with.
So readers, what’s something you do that would be considered frugal?