Whether you’re a young college student just getting started with adult life, someone in their 30s or 40s raising a family, or even in your middle age or beyond, there are always benefits to living frugally.
By considering the following steps to a frugal lifestyle, you can eliminate or stay out of debt, build some savings, and perhaps come to the realization that you actually don’t need those fancy toys your friends have.
Some frugal living tips are as simple as buying store brand instead of name brand, clipping coupons, or using a shopping list to ensure you don’t buy too much at the grocery store. However, if you really want to commit to a more frugal lifestyle, these are the tips you’ll want to follow.
Forego buying a car
If you do have a family and you live in a more rural area, then foregoing owning a car is likely not an option. However, if you’re single, live in a more urban area where public transportation or ride sharing is widely available, or even live within walking distance of important places, you can save money by not buying a car.
If you do need to own a car, don’t buy an expensive one that you’ll be making a lot of loan payments on. Buy an older model that you can purchase upfront and don’t worry if it has a few scratches on it.
Frequent secondhand stores
Saving money means you probably shouldn’t be buying up fancy brand apparel from places like Joseph A. Bank, Footlocker, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret.
Buying from places like the Salvation Army Family Store, Goodwill, or other thrift stores may sound unattractive, but you can actually find decent clothes for far less than you would at the mall.
Cook & meal prep
It might seem easier to go to your local fast food restaurant and order takeout if you don’t consider yourself to be a good cook. But, it’s healthier both for you and your wallet if you buy your food and learn how to cook considering there are so many resources online where you can learn simple meals.
Check online for coupons when you shop, buy the grocery store’s specific brand, and meal prep your food for the week so you’re not tempted by takeout.
Use streaming & prepaid services
Cable TV can be one of the biggest money wasters, and you probably don’t need to be getting stuck in a contract, getting hit with installation fees, and enduring bad customer service all to watch a few TV channels.
There are so many other ways to get your entertainment, such as internet streaming or checking out movies at the library. You’re likely better off not getting home internet either, but if you really need it for work, school or other reasons, stick with a cheap internet or cellular provider.
Also, consider a prepaid phone that’s cheap and lets you buy your data or minutes when you need them.
Ditch the big banks
This isn’t always brought up when discussing frugal living, but who you bank with can also save you money. Some banks have certain requirements you have to meet to avoid paying fees on your checking or savings accounts. If you’re having problems with this, you might want to look for banks that have no fees outside of problems such as overdrafts or NSF errors.
Credit unions are often a better option because they usually don’t have ridiculous fees or hidden charges, and they offer more fair terms for their members. There are also online banks and alternative prepaid debit cards.