Frugal living is all about spending less and saving more. It’s a lifestyle choice that can help you stretch your budget and free up more money for the things you really care about.
If you’re looking for ways to cut back on your spending, here are 10 things that frugal people do differently:
1. They Make a Budget and Stick to It
One of the most important things you can do is create a budget and stick to it. It may seem as though this should go without saying. However, most people do not spend the time necessary to tweak their budget to the point it’s truly beneficial to their financial situation.
To get started with budgeting, some key steps include:
– Tracking your expenses and income regularly – Once you create a budget, you must follow up and actually track what you spent, then compare it to what the budget says. You may need to make adjustments to your budget categories. When my husband and I were first setting a household budget, it took the better part of a year to track and adjust the original budget we had set up. Don’t neglect this part, tracking your spending is where the freedom is!
– Creating a budget plan that prioritizes your financial goals – Creating a working budget should include funding your financial goals, like retirement, vacations, college, etc. Be sure to include those categories, just like you would any other bill, and make sure to allocate money towards them.
– Setting up automatic transfers or payments to help you stay on track – I live by this one and it’s so easy to do with online banking! I’ve got several accounts set up, within my checking account, that are automatically funded when I receive income.
– Taking advantage of free tools and resources like online budgeting apps – I am a big fan of Mint, a free online budgeting app that tracks your expenses, pay off debt, save for the future, helps to increase your credit score and so much more!
2. They Live Below Their Means
For many people, living below their means is an important part of frugal living. This means spending less than you earn and saving the rest for things like retirement, emergencies, or big-ticket items.
So many people spend more than they bring in, that’s how credit card debt can quickly get out of control!
There are a few key ways to help you live below your means:
– Find ways to increase your income – Side hustles are a great way to bring in some extra money and then direct it to your financial goals.
– Cut back on unnecessary expenses – Go over your budget and ask yourself if you really need what you’re paying for every month.
– Automate your savings so you’re never tempted to spend it
– Live within your means by sticking to a budget – Before you spend anything, refer to your budget and make sure it aligns with the priorities that you’ve put in place. What’s the point of making a budget if you’re not going to stick to it?
By following these tips, you can make sure that you’re spending less than you earn and building up your savings over time.
3. They Save Automatically
One of the key traits of frugal people is that they save automatically, either by setting up automatic transfers from their checking account to a savings or investment account, or by signing up for programs that help them automatically save small amounts of money on a regular basis.
There are many different ways to automate your savings, including:
– Choosing high-interest savings accounts with features like rewards programs or tiered interest rates.
– Using apps and tools that round up your purchases and deposit the difference into your savings account.
– Signing up for employer 401(k) plans or other retirement accounts that automatically deduct pre-tax funds from your paycheck each month.
By automating your savings in one or more of these ways, you can make sure that you’re always putting money away for the future without having to think about it.
4. They Invest in Quality over Quantity
Another key trait of frugal people is that they invest in quality over quantity. This means spending more on items that will last longer or provide a better value, and less on things that are disposable or trend-based.
There are many different ways to invest in quality over quantity:
– Buying better-quality used items instead of new.
– Investing in higher-quality items that will last longer – We shopped for higher quality mattresses and cookware and then waited for them to go on sale. Then, we purchased them with money we had set aside. I still have the same mattress and cookware, 20 years later, and continue to take very good care of them so they will last.
– Checking for discounts or sales before making a purchase – Sometimes this means waiting for what you want to go on sale, like around the holidays.
– Doing research to find the best deals on quality products – Impulsiveness will always get you into financial trouble. Do your research and be patient.
5. They Know When to Say “No”
One of the most important things frugal people do is know when to say no.
Some situations where it might be appropriate to say no include:
– When someone asks you to loan them money – Money changes things between people and can oftentimes destroy a good relationship. Our policy is that if I can’t afford to ‘gift’ what the person needs, then the answer is “no”.
– When you’re offered a credit card with a high-interest rate
– When you’re invited to an event that is outside of your budget
– When you’re considering a purchase that is not necessary
By knowing when to say no, you can make sure that you’re not spending money on things that are not essential, and that you’re staying within your budget. This can help you save more while also allowing you to focus on the things that are truly important to you.
6. They Shop for Deals
Another key trait of frugal people is that they shop around for deals, whether it’s comparing prices at different stores, searching for coupons and discounts online, or browsing sales flyers to find the best deals in their area.
Some strategies for shopping around for deals include:
– Utilizing price comparison tools like apps or websites that show you where the best prices are.
– Using cashback rewards programs or loyalty cards to get discounts on purchases.
– Signing up for email newsletters from your favorite stores to stay informed about promotions and sale events.
By shopping around and taking advantage of these types of deals, frugal people can save money on the things they need while still getting quality products at a great price. And ultimately, this allows them to spend more on the things that are truly important to them.
7. They DIY Whenever Possible
Another key trait of frugal people is that they DIY whenever possible. This means taking the time to learn new skills or try out different ways of doing things yourself rather than outsourcing them to others.
Some examples of DIY projects might include:
– Creating your own home decor (by using natural elements) and furnishings.
– Fixing household appliances instead of replacing them.
– Crafting your own beauty products from natural ingredients.
By embracing DIY projects, frugal people can save money on many aspects of their lives and enjoy the satisfaction of creating something with their own hands. And in the end, this allows them to put more money towards what truly matters to them.
8. They Don’t Waste Food
Frugal people are also very mindful about not wasting food. This means planning ahead to ensure that you’re using all of the food you buy, and not letting anything go to waste.
Some ways to reduce food waste include:
– Meal planning so you know exactly what you need to buy
– Storing food properly to prevent it from going bad
– Composting scraps and donated surplus food
By being mindful about food waste, frugal people can save money on their grocery bills and reduce their impact on the environment. And ultimately, this allows them to use their resources in a more efficient and sustainable way.
9. They Avoid Debt
Frugal people also avoid debt whenever possible. This means only borrowing money when it is absolutely necessary, and always working to pay off any debt as quickly as possible.
Some ways to avoid debt include:
– Only taking out loans for major purchases that you know you can afford and makes good economical sense.
– Making a budget and sticking to it to ensure you’re not spending more than you can afford.
– Investing in quality items that will last longer so you don’t have to replace them as often.
– Avoiding credit cards and only using cash or debit cards.
By avoiding debt, frugal people can save money on interest payments and reduce their overall financial burden. In the end, this allows them to stay on track toward their long-term financial goals.
10. They are Mindful of Their Spending Habits
Whether you’re looking to save a little money or pursue frugal living on a more long-term basis, mindful consumption is a skill that will serve you well.
Becoming frugal and mindful of your spending can seem like a daunting task, but it is well worth the effort.
One key to frugal living is to constantly be on the lookout for new ways to save money.
This might mean clipping coupons, buying in bulk at warehouse stores, or finding time-saving hacks that allow you to accomplish more with less money.
Another important step is to keep track of your expenses so that you have an accurate sense of where your money is going. Whether you use an Excel spreadsheet or a personal finance app, staying on top of your spending will help you spot wasteful habits and make the necessary adjustments to become more frugal in the long run.
Overall, becoming mindful about your spending may require some initial effort, but the rewards will be well worth it in terms of savings, satisfaction, and peace of mind.
Being frugal doesn’t mean that you have to deprive yourself of all the things that you love. Instead, it means being mindful of your spending habits and finding creative ways to save money without cutting out everything that makes life fun and enjoyable.
For example, if you love going out to eat, consider choosing less expensive restaurants or choosing lunch over dinner for added cost savings.
Another tip is to scour secondhand stores and thrift shops for gently used items at a fraction of the cost.
Ultimately, adopting a frugal mindset can help you live more mindfully by making sure that every dollar counts towards something valuable and meaningful in your life.