Being frugal is not typically a habit people are well, born with. This habit is developed over time. Trial and error come into play often, and you figure out what works best for your family and your own independent frugal life style. Not everything I share is going to work for you, and that is perfectly fine. Take what works apply that to your life and see improvement. If that doesn’t always work, you can switch some ideas around. That’s the beauty in life, you get to experiment with what works and what doesn’t.
Here are a few quick frugal tips to get your engines going.
1. Bring lunch to work at least 3-4 days a week. Have you every looked at the prices you’re paying to eat out for lunch on a daily basis. The general average spent is $7 a day. If you eat out 5 days a week at $7 a day that adds up to $35 a week. Now multiply that by 52 weeks in the year that is $1,820 a year on eating out! Holy crow! If you cut that back to only 2 days a week eating out you’d be spending $14 a week and $728 a year. That is an $1,100 difference. Think about all the places you can spend $1,100 a year that will help your life be enhanced! Stew on this.
2. In the winter instead of immediately turning the heat up because you’re a little chilled, put another sweater on or wrap a blanket around you on the couch. I can hear you all saying “BUT I work HARD for my money, I want to be comfortable in my house.” I get that, trust me I do. Think about the cost of heat, and instead of knocking that heater up two or three degrees, try one. You’ll save some bucks trust me you will. Same goes for summer and the AC unit (which uhm I live in Arizona and know ALL about how hot it can get and how desirable the AC unit is). I refuse to let the AC in my house to be turned below 82 until after 8pm. The rates are higher during the day (obviously) and at night the lowest I allow the AC to go is to 78. When the outside temperature during the day is an average of 110-115, 82 feels good. At night when the average is between 85-95, 78 feels good. Also saves money.
3. Buy generic brands. Do your kids complain if you get generic brands? Yep, mine too. This is my trick. I’m sharing my secrets! Don’t tell! I buy the generic brands, but have bought one bottle of let’s say Hershey’s syrup before. When the brand bottle is empty I buy the generic. Now the brand name is only bought ON SALE! Never full price folks, NEVER. I fill up the brand name bottle with generic and POOF nobody knows the difference. I saved money, and the kids are none the wiser. Works every time. I swear if they see generic their brains turn to mush and insist that the product “tastes different”. When you stick the generic in the brand name bottle, nothing tastes different. I’d be a millionaire if I could figure out the reasoning behind this and market that, I swear.
4. Extreme Couponing is pretty much, well, fake. Normal people like you and I are not extreme couponers, and probably never will be for that matter. Coupons generally are only printed by manufactures for expensive brand name products. Rarely do I use coupons, if I do, it’s a buy one get one free deal or the brand has to already be on sale and the coupon will bring me below the dreaded “generic brands” price. Otherwise, you’re saving zero dollars, zero. You’re actually spending more, but feel like you saved since you had a “coupon”. You didn’t.
5. Shop thrift stores. The horror! I love thrifting. majority of my furniture was either found in the trash at the end of someone’s driveway, fully functioning item, or a thrift store. Trick, go on sale days. If you must go when they open and fight the crowds more power to you. I prefer the afternoon. Yes, items can be picked over, but if something I need is there and it’s 50% off and let me repeat, “I NEED” I get that item. Sometimes I strike out thrifting and that’s okay. I don’t drive all over town to all the thrift stores having sales, that defeats the purpose of saving money. You’re wasting that money in gas. Go to a few, you know, the ones closest to your house.
Check back for more quick tips on how to save money being frugal.