When it comes to being frugal, it’s a learned process that can become a habit as it’s practiced on a daily basis. If you grew up with parents who were frugal, it’s likely that you’ve developed frugal habits. The same is true if you spend unwisely. It becomes a habit that you don’t often realize is costing you extra money and delaying your goals like saving for a new car or home. When you want to practice daily habits regarding frugality, you’ll need to identify and stop those habits that are keeping you from your goals.
Social Spending and Peer Pressure
While you might be able to forgo huge wedding gifts by spending within your budget, it might not even be something you want to do. You feel pressured into spending on a gift because it’s expected. The same is true of small things on a daily basis. Instead of joining friends for lunch at a local restaurant each day, you should be saving your money. It might not seem like a big deal, but that kind of pressure to spend socially can be sabotaging your ability to save. When you allow other people to spend your money, you’re still ultimately responsible for the result.
The Convenience of Convenience
Consider how often you’ll stop at a corner store because it’s convenient when you’re heading home from work. Everything you buy there is likely a dollar or two more than it would be in a grocery store. Vending machines at work are the same. You’re spending more for the convenience, which is fine once or twice. Unfortunately, it’s not happening once or twice. This leads to paying much more for common items you can purchase in bulk when you plan ahead. Don’t head to the convenience store after work for milk. Buy what you need at the grocery store where it’s much less.
Bulk Buying and Storage
This was touched on briefly in the prior example, but buying in bulk can save hundreds of dollars on your food bill each month. This translates into thousands each year. Stocking up when there are sales is the best way to save. Buy a pantry or shelving unit for your closet, or start storing in the basement to truly take advantage of sales and bulk opportunities. This will help you save money on a regular basis. People who practice being frugal are always thinking and planning ahead.
Comparison Shop on All Items
It can be soothing to spend time in stores that you know. You head to the local market or department store because you know where everything is, and you don’t have time to check prices. When you don’t take the time to comparison shop, you’re likely spending too much. Those red, organic grapes can cost almost 8 dollars or $1.99 on sale someplace else. The same is true of comparison shopping for big ticket items. You should never hire a contractor without a few quotes for comparison. Even your hairdresser should get the comparison challenge. You’ll be overpaying for services and products regularly if you don’t.
Cancel Services You Don’t Use
You should always cancel the services you don’t use. Unfortunately, if it’s difficult to cancel, requires you to find paperwork or sit on hold for hours, it can be forgotten. If you’re not using the service anymore, that money adds up over time. For example, if you spend 10 dollars a month for a subscription service you no longer use, that’s 120 dollars a year in wasted money. You might as well hold that money over an open flame and burn it. A few dollars here and there each month add up over the course of a year, and you should take the time to cancel those services.
Wasting Food without a System
When you’re buying in bulk, you should have a system for storage. That includes knowing how long you can store items in the freezer or the cabinets. When you use a system, you won’t end up with an unknown piece of meat in the freezer. Everything should be labeled, and that includes leftovers. You can use a whiteboard to track and organize your leftovers as well as bulk items, so you’ll know exactly what you have versus what you need.
Special Treats Become Common
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t treat yourself continuously. First, it costs a lot of money to treat yourself, and once you do it constantly, it doesn’t feel like a special indulgence. If you went to the spa every day, it no longer becomes a special event that you use to reward yourself. When you indulge in special treats once or twice a month instead of daily, you’re saving money for the items that are truly worth a special treat.
Cheap Purchases without Thought
While you might consider the dollar store a great place to spend money, if you’re not buying thoughtfully, you could spend more money there. For example, if you purchase batteries at the dollar store, you’ll need to keep repurchasing them. Cheap batteries can destroy the electronics too. Overall, you’ll end up spending more. If you avoid making a large purchase because it costs too much up-front, you’re not saving money in the long run. A coffee maker for the home can cost more than daily coffee, but over time will pay for itself and save you money each month. The same is true of things like solar panels. The costs are large up-front, but over a few years, the savings make it worth the cost.
When you’re frugal and remove examine your life for extravagant moments, you will really start to save money. Watching your bank account grow as you save for a major purchase can become addictive, and you’ll soon be making frugal a part of your daily life.