Frugal living doesn’t have to be boring or complicated. In fact, even one simple frugal living tip can make a big difference in your finances and overall well-being. A user asked, What is a single frugal living tip that you’ve found changed your life considerably, and how? and here are some:
1. Buy EXACTLY What You Look For
“Being extremely picky and scrutinizing potential purchases before buying. I used to buy things that were not quite what I wanted, either because I thought, “Oh well, it’s the closest thing I can find,” or just because it was on sale and, therefore, a “good deal.”
Now I won’t buy something unless it’s EXACTLY what I’m looking for and at a price, I’m willing to pay.”
2. Wait for 48-hour
“I have a 48-hour rule. Anything I see and think, “I want that,” I wait at least two days. If I’m still thinking about it and want it, I wait for another 24 hrs. If I STILL want it, then I get it. Around 85% of the things I think I want don’t pass this test.”
3. Remove Quick Payment Methods
“I’ve removed all the quick payment methods from the sites I used to impulse purchase from. Having to pull out my card to type in the info physically is usually enough to talk me out of it.”
4. Add To Your Wishlist If You Like
“Putting things that catch my eye on Amazon or temu on my wishlist instead of in my cart. Then when the moment has passed, you haven’t spent the money and have no crap to get rid of or clutter up your life.”
“If you let it sit in your cart, Amazon will eventually slash the price to get you to buy it. Got a $300 massage gun for less than $60 AND got a Roomba that was over $800 for $150 by using this method!”
5. Look In Terms of Money and Hours
“Looking at everything in terms of time. If you make $20/hr and want to buy something that is $100, it’s no longer $100 in my mind. It’s now roughly six and a half hours (thanks to taxes) of my life that I will never get back.”
6. Calculating Opportunity Costs
“I do this in reverse too: if it costs $5 to get something mailed across town, but it would save an hour round trip, that means I’m valuing my time at less than $5/hour (to account for fuel). Always factor in the cost to your time.”
7. Prioritizing Time Affluence
“I’d rather have free time than more stuff. Luckily my partner shares that philosophy, and together we have a built a life that values time together as a family, even if it means we are just at home together, not doing anything special.”
8. Paying Yourself First
“The old adage of paying yourself first. Automating retirement contributions and the like so I never see the money. Can’t spend what isn’t there.”
9. Stop Drinking Alcohol
“This is a good one. I travel a lot for work. And I used to go out drinking pretty often on those trips. All my coworkers would usually want to get dinner after work since we were all getting per diem. So that’s 2-3 beers with dinner. And in those days, if I have 2-3, I will have 6-10 more at home. It adds up. Plus, drinks at bars are overpriced, and Uber is expensive.”
“Since I quit drinking, I’ve saved god knows how much in drinks and Uber. That’s not even to mention the long-term health benefits which will directly translate into savings as well as simply having a better and longer life.”
“Cook at home and plan your meals with the discounts of the week. I used to waste 15$ a day at least on takeout. Now I cook, and tbh it’s almost always better unless it’s something very unique. I try to only eat out on special occasions.”
11. Do Activities Available For Free
“Take advantage of free entertainment options like visiting parks, museums, libraries, or attending free community events and concerts.”
Read: 75 Fall Activities On A Shoestring Budget
“I ditched anything disposable or single-use and committed to things like Britta pitchers, cloth napkins, zero paper towels, zero plastic utensils, zero paper plates, etc.
Edit: also, recycling anything and everything. I just mailed off unopened new contact lenses from an old prescription to the lions, just mailed 9 used Britta filters to Britta’s recycling program; we save anything that comes in plastic from the grocery store, old batteries that no longer hold a charge, etc. and take everything to our local recycling center.
use less. waste less. recycle.”
13. Learn to Invest in Assets That Make Money
“Learning to invest in assets that make money. Also, learning to buy simple classic clothing so that everything goes with everything, and so I don’t need a million shoes or outfits for every possible situation. Just in general having a minimalist mindset that less is more.”
14. Use Credit Cards to Reach Full Potential
“Get a credit card that gives cash back for purchases, charge all items each month to it that you can, and without question, pay it off COMPLETELY each month. So all the cash back with no interest charges. A great win-win.”
“Only do this if you are disciplined enough to pay it off each month, though. Interest adds up quickly.”
15. Kids or No Kids
“Don’t have kids
And if you do have kids: secondhand clothes, repairing what gets damaged, outside activities instead of buying expensive inside toys. My son turned four a few days ago, and I can say for certain that (apart from childcare(edit: daycare lol) because that’s just insane), my kid, on average costs me less than my pets.”
16. Daily Budget Tracking
“Daily budget tracking has been my true game changer. I used to be someone who checked my accounts frequently.. so I more or less tracking my spending. But tracking my budget as it pertains to my spending and adjusting as needed – that right there is the secret sauce. Doing it daily makes sure nothing slips through the cracks.”
“I’m finally able to really make strides in my financial goals now that I have a living budget.”
17. Stop Pretending
“Stop pretending you give a damn about things other people give a damn about, just because you feel obliged to.
You don’t have nice towels and don’t care, but your aunt is visiting, and she does care? She can either use your bad towels or buy some nice ones for you if she cares that much.
You only have one bag, and it doesn’t match your outfit for an event? Throw on more accessories that don’t match your outfit. Now you look eclectic and creative, and no longer feel pressure to buy something new to make your outfit work. If other people don’t like it, just say, “It’s fashion, sweaty,” and sashay away.”
18. Follow Minimalism
“I learned a lot from my ex-pat ex-boyfriend. The guy didn’t want to own anything, so he could move away whenever he wanted. He had nice clothes, but not many, and what he had was usually bought on sale. He was living out of a suitcase, and it made me rethink if I needed all those trinkets that I like so much but not need.”
19. Meal Planning
“For me, meal planning was a game changer. I used to buy whatever looked good at the store, and I would have all this random stuff. and spend so much money. Now I plan exactly what I’m making based on what I have on hand and what’s on sale. I buy exactly what I need with the flexibility to buy things that are on clearance and freeze them for later. This has saved me thousands of dollars.”
“Being remote/working from home! This was the game changer for me. All the expenses around going to and being at an office/place for work add up!
I have saved money on gas, car insurance discount, and wear and tear on my car, not having to buy/replace work outfits, shoes, makeup, etc., getting more mileage out of seasonal items. And the time! No more 45m commute 2x a day.
Now that time can be used to prep healthy meals, hit the gym/go on a walk or do yoga, or just house stuff, etc. There are more savings I can’t think of them all now, but working remotely is the way for me.”
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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.