Article Contribution by Danielle:
One of my biggest pet peeves is not having enough money for things that I want to purchase or invest in. I’m frugal when it comes to paying bills such as my student loan, phone bill, delinquent credit card bill, etc. Frugal meaning, once a month I will shop at the local dollar store just to save money to pay my bills. I will wait to Super $5 Tuesday’s at the movies so that I don’t have to pay full-price for a movie ticket. One day I even walked 15 miles to work (both ways) just to avoid putting gas in my tank. That didn’t help because I tripped and twisted my ankle while crossing the street – I limped to the hospital and lost a day of pay. That basically defeated the purpose of me walking, which was to save money.
I eventually learned how to be frugal with my money. Why did I decide to live frugally? First, because it allows you to spend a lot less than you earn. You can use the difference to pay off debt, save or invest. Second, because the less you spend your money, the less you need to earn extra money. Getting a second job just to earn more money was out of the question for me, I barely like getting out of bed in the mornings make it to my first job. The following are proven tips that will help you live a frugal life.
1. Purchase a small-sized vehicle. You can save hundreds of dollars by driving a smaller vehicle. Unless you have a large family, don’t purchase a SUV. You will save a lot of money on gas by driving a small vehicle.
2. Go with a smaller house. Heating a large house can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars just to heat during the winter and air condition during the summer.
3. Eat out less – Eat in More. The average person spends over $2000 per year on eating out at restaurants. You can save a bundle by cooking your own food.
4. Brown bag it to work. Bring your lunch instead of ordering out for lunch.
5. Adopt a minimalist wardrobe. When purchasing clothes, purchase separates (shirts, pants, blouses, skirts, etc.) With separates, you can turn a 5-piece wardrobe set into a 10-15 piece wardrobe set.
6. Stop online impulse buying. Instead of purchasing items online every week, purchase only once a month or every two months. This will ultimately save you money.
7. Cancel cable. This will save you a bundle every month (in my neighborhood, about $45, or more than $500 a year). As a substitute, I do things like read or I rent DVDs at the video store.
8. Use the library. Instead of purchasing books, check them out at the library. You can also find a selection of DVDs (depending on where you live) this will save you even more money.
9. Find free entertainment. You can find cheap ways to have fun. Entertainment can cost a lot of money. The average person spends more than $1,800 a year on entertainment. You can find free entertainment in your local newspaper and on the Internet.
10. Stay healthy. Visiting the doctor and going to the hospital for catching the flu can be costly. Eat healthily, and exercise. This will help you from getting sick.
11. Commute by bike. Commuting by bike to work or the store will save you money on gas and transportation.
12. Carpool or ride the bus. Take public transportation to work or school. You can even carpool and save a bundle on gas. Carpool or ride the bus. OK, you don’t want to bike it. So find a friend or neighbor who works near you, and arrange a carpool. Or take public transportation. Simple advice, but something a lot of people ignore.
13. Walk. If you are traveling locally like the corner store, or to a place of business that’s less than a mile away. This will also save you money on transportation.
14. Sell your clutter. You can sell your clutter at a garage sale or even on eBay. You can make a few extra bucks and free up space in your house or apartment.
15. Frugal gifting. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on gift giving. Gift cards make perfect gifts if you’re not sure what to purchase and they come in denominations as low as $20.
16. Quit smoking. It is estimated that people spend over $3000 on cigarettes. Quitting smoking will not only save you money but will improve your health.
17. Quit drinking. People who go to happy hour more than once a week, spend a lot of money on drinks. Beer is much cheaper.
18. Sweets in moderation. Cut back on sweets (you don’t have to completely eliminate them entirely) this will help you to save money and cut calories.
19. Drink water. Instead of buying bottled water, get a filter for your kitchen faucet.
20. Stay home. Become a homebody. You don’t have to go out in order to have fun. You can cook a nice meal, watch a good DVD or listen to music.
21. Stop using credit cards. Avoid credit card debt and only use it for emergencies. By the way, $200 designer bag is not an emergency.
22. Cancel magazine subscriptions. If you have more than 3 magazine subscriptions, cancel them. Many magazines can be found on the Internet
23. Make your own. Instead of buying a bookshelf, make one. There are many do-it-yourself projects that you can make instead of buying.
24. Save energy. You can actually lower your monthly power bill by turning off your the lights when not in use.
25. Telecommute. Instead of commuting to work everyday, ask your employer if you could telecommute to work. This will help you save money on transportation.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you to become more frugal with your spending. Just like everything, practice makes perfect. In time, you will begin to notice the benefits of cutting back on your spending.