Frugality is a learned behavior. You either inherit your financial habits from your immediate family or you’ve gone through some type of monetary hardship that forced you to become frugal. The latter was my case.
Not too many years ago I was living paycheck to paycheck, had my car repossessed and my power turned off multiple times. I didn’t know how to manage my money, if I had $20 in my bank account than I saw that as $20 to spend.
Now that I’m on the other side of hardship, I’ve learned that the habits you cultivate daily are what really sets you apart and makes the difference. Here are 10 daily frugal habits that have saved my family money and changed our lives for the better!
1. Don’t ‘Waste’ What You Buy
We often get stuck in the habit of going to the grocery store every week because we are adults and that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
When you are frugal you don’t let things go to waste, especially food. Food waste is a huge problem in America and to combat that my family has vowed to not go to the grocery store if we have enough food to make lunches and dinners.
If there isn’t anything I absolutely need, I don’t go. If there are only 1 or 2 things on my list, I see if there is a substitute for that ingredient.
This is harder for families than, due to the simple fact that you have more mouths to feed. It’s still possible though. Dedicate yourself to a consistent meal plan, strategically schedule your grocery trips and shop your pantry before hopping in the car and heading to Aldi (Video: How to Shop at ALDI | Tips and Tricks for SAVING MONEY).
2. Cook From Scratch
One of the biggest ways to waste money at the grocery store is to pay for convenience. That means handing over cash for pre-cut veggies and prepared meals. Frugal people don’t do this. You get more bang for your buck when you purchase a whole pineapple rather than the plastic container of cut up pineapple chunks.
There is a caveat to this.If you are used to eating take out every night, you will save money by buying pre-cut veggies and a rotisserie chicken. There are different levels of savings for each person and you must weigh these options.
3. Don’t Waste Energy
Frugal people kill vampire appliances and we don’t leave the lights on whenever we leave a room. We unplug items, don’t run half a load of laundry, make sure the dishwasher is full before setting it off and have outlet plugs on all exterior outlets. Being energy efficient is more environmentally friendly and saves your family cost of living expenses. It’s a win-win.
4. Question What You Buy
Frugal people don’t blindly buy anything. Ask yourself these questions before you purchase something:
• Do I really need this?
• Do I have something else that can serve the same purpose?
• Can I find it cheaper?
5. Free Is My Middle Name
There are many ways to enjoy free events in your area. My favorite is lurking on local Facebook groups to see what’s going on in my local area. These groups are also wonderful resources for any questions you may have that are geographically specific. I’ve even scored some free furniture and other items through them.
6. Shop ‘Smart’
Buying in bulk is often cheaper, but not always. Make sure you take a peek at the cost per unit because contrary to popular belief, buying in bulk isn’t always the best option.. Marketers know that our brains are programmed to think it will be. Calculate the cost per unit or cost per ounce.
7. Coupon Codes And Coupon Plugins are a Way Of Life
If there isn’t a coupon, shop through Rakuten/Ebates to get at least percent back. Over the last x years, I’ve gotten over $1,700 back from simple using Rakuten/Ebates. I also don’t shop online without plugins anymore. It’s such a simple thing: You download once and don’t have to worry about it again. With Honey, I always find those ‘hidden’ savings.
8. Use The Library
Did you know that the library has evolved to the 21st century too!? Now you can go in and get books, movies and even audiobooks! They even have rooms to rent and free events for kids monthly. What an awesome way to support your community and get the most bang for your taxper ‘buck’.
9. Don’t Impulse Shop
I recently heard someone talk about this hand pizza roller that is a game changer. I found one on Amazon and went to buy it, but remember that we have a ‘wish list rule.’
We let the item sit in our cart for a week, and after a week we decide if we really want the item or not. One of three things will happen at this point:
1. We decide that we don’t really want it and delete it from our cart
2. We decide that we DO want it and buy the item
3. We decide that we DO want to buy the item, but it’s not a priority and move it to our wish list
The wish list has become the real game changer here. I even give the list to my family when Christmas rolls around. It’s a win-win for everyone. I get items that I want and they don’t have to think about what to buy me — it’s all right there.
10. Use Hand Me Downs
When I was paying off my debt, I could point to almost anything in my apartment and tell you who gave it to me as a hand me down. Now that we are debt free and in a different financial situation, we are able to buy new furniture that matches and we love that we have worked to make that an option for our family. Hand me downs are environmentally friendly and way, way cheaper than buying new. There are still things that we see if we can snag from a family, friend or from Facebook market.
What are some daily frugal habits that keep you and your budget in check? Let me know!
Ways I save money:
Here at Freedom In A Budget, I am all about saving money! Here are some of the EASY ways that I save money:
• Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s really it. Free gift cards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries. Just scan your receipts and get gift cards from places like Amazon, Target, Ulta, Applebees. Use code QHKBH to earn 2,000 points ($2)!
• Rakuten/Ebates: Rakuten is my to go way to earn Cash Back from over 2,500 stores like Macy’s, Amazon, Sephora, Walmart and much more. Join Rakuten today for free, and you’ll get a $10 Cash Bonus to get you started! Every three months, you’ll get a Big Fat Check in the mail or a PayPal payment just for shopping.
• CIT Bank offers CDs and savings accounts that provide a safe, secure way to grow your savings.
• M1 Finance is an easy to use brokerage platform that allows you to invest in Fractional Shares and auto reinvest!
• Gabi is a full-service, online advisor who compares all your insurance options to find you the right policy, all in under two minutes.
• Budget Templates: Excel budget templates with pre-populated categories and formulas to keep you on track with hitting your financial goals.