Living a frugal life doesn't have to be a considerable sacrifice. There are plenty of ways to save money and live within your means without feeling like you deny yourself. The fundamental principle of living a frugal life is not to be cheap, but to live within your means, or even below them. For instance, even though you may be able to afford a Mercedes, you shouldn't invest in one if you'd be satisfied with a Honda.
Whether it's chipping away at loans, staving off debt, or only saving for the future, living frugally can add up and make a big difference in your finances. Here are our 12 tips for living frugally to help you maintain a budget-friendly lifestyle.
1. Don't spend what isn't there.
Be smart with credit cards and loans and other investments. Always talk to a professional and do your research before making any credit decisions—this could save you from massive debt later on.
2. Use your transport smartly.
Carpooling and taking advantage of public transit are two great ways to save on commuting costs. The less you have to pay for gas, tolls, or parking means more money in your pocket. Try organizing a carpool group with your coworkers or, if you and your spouse are headed in the same direction, go together instead of separately.
3. Choose your transport smartly.
Owning a car may not be the best for your wallet or the environment, but for a lot of people, it's the only option. Public transit just isn't robust enough is some areas to go without a car. If you do need to buy a car, choose one that's not only reasonable price-wise, but also fuel and maintenance efficient.
4. Downsize your space.
Like with cars, just because you can afford something lavish and expensive doesn't mean you should buy it. Downsizing your home will help you save on monthly mortgage and interest payments, energy costs, and other savings.
5. Sometimes buying second hand is better.
Used items are often a lot cheaper than the brand new ones. This doesn't mean you should necessarily compromise on quality. A lot of used items are listed in “like new” condition but severely discounted.
6. Eat at home.
You've probably heard this one before, but eating out at restaurants can make a massive dent in your budget if you're not careful. All those lunches and dinners add up, especially if you're buying groceries and underusing them. Start with making your coffee in the morning and packing a lunch and see how much you end up saving. Even when you go do go out, try to pay attention to the prices on the menu—perhaps there will be something you'll enjoy at a lower price!
7. Quit impulse buying.
Impulsive shopping may feel right at the time, but often it leads to regret and stress later. When you go out, keep a list of items that you need to buy and stick to it. Only go to those stores and aisles in which you need to go. Resist the urge to window shop as it will make you buy unnecessary items and upset your frugal lifestyle. This also includes online window shopping.
8. Cut out the cable.
A cable subscription costs a pretty penny each month, but most people don't think it's worth it. Opt for a subscription-like Netflix or Hulu instead and get all your shows online.
9. Get a library card.
Another thing that frugal people tend to do is go to the library to borrow books, movies, and audiobooks instead of buying or renting. This will not only save your money but may also even motivate you to read the book because you have to return it within a certain amount of days.
10. Work out at home.
Working out is essential, but it does not have to be expensive. Gym memberships can be insanely expensive, especially if they come with perks like a pool or a spa, but often they just aren't worth it. There are thousands of workout videos available online, and many don't require any special equipment. Plus, body-weight exercises are a great way to build strength!
11. Sell the items that you do not use.
It's easy to forget about those items you no longer use cluttering your basement. But the next time you have a free weekend, sift through them and sell as many as you can for extra cash. You can either have a garage sale or, better yet, use an online retail app and sell your useless items by uploading their pictures and setting up a reasonable price—most of these accounts are free!
12. Use coupons.
If you're serious about using coupons, you can save thousands each year on your purchases. Be sure to peruse our site to find the best coupon deals for all major brand name stores!
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