Five Essential Tips for a Frugal Lifestyle

Being frugal means you can save money. It means you can plan for the future and ensure you have enough savings for your retirement. Being frugal now means you won’t have to work forever. It also means that when the time comes, you won’t have to depend on your kids or go to the worst of the worst nursing homes.

So, yes, being frugal has some serious benefits, but it’s also a chore, right? Who doesn’t want to spend what they earn? Who wants to scrimp and save just for some future that may never arrive? The truth is that being frugal isn’t always fun, but it’s not so bad either, and you don’t have to go overboard and start eating out of the dumpsters behind grocery stores. Here are the essential things you need to do to be more frugal without literally counting your pennies.

Get rid of debt. Debt is a normal way of life for most people, like taking personal loans. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Debt is expensive and it holds you back. Frugal people strive to have no debt. They only buy things when they can afford to pay for them in full. To become the frugal person you were meant to be, start getting rid of your debt right now and start saving the money you have been paying in interest rates.

Eliminating debt requires solid planning. If you’re lost and have no idea what the best way is to reduce debt, get a financial planner involved, or use a non-profit debt consolidation resource. If you take the time to plan out how you can pay down your debt, you will save money and be on your way to living the frugal lifestyle.

Eat in most of the time. Frugal people don’t waste money on restaurant food. It is much more expensive than buying and preparing your own food. Stop buying lunch at work every day. Pack your own lunch. Don’t buy that daily coffee either. Eliminate the coffee and you will save up to $30 per week. It adds up to a lot in one year if you do the math. Make your own coffee at home and use washable travel mugs to bring it to work.

If most of your dinners come from restaurants, or even takeout, you’re losing money. Sure, it’s easier, faster and more convenient to eat out, but you can spend a little extra time preparing and eating at home and be rewarded for that small input of time with a ton of savings.

 Be a bargain hunter. Another thing all frugal people have in common is the bargain hunt. To be frugal you need to shop around. You can’t just settle for the first price you see for something you need. Compare prices and look for coupons and sales. As with eating in for dinner, this requires a time commitment, but the payoff is well worth it.

 You can be a bargain hunter in most aspects of your life. Use coupons at the grocery store. Most now offer online coupons, so you can save time on clipping. Use online price comparison sites to get the best deals on everything from plane tickets to appliances. When you need a new car, shop around and negotiate the best price you can.

Reuse whenever possible. Reusing is not just a money-saving strategy, it’s a creative outlet. Reusing is an essential skill of frugal people and once you get going you’ll start to come up with all kinds of ideas for how to reuse items you have and to avoid the expense of buying something new. Do a quick search online for tips for reusing household items and you will have hundreds of ideas to get you started.

 This philosophy also applies to buyingthings you need. When you can’t reuse something you own and you have to buy, buy used. From clothes to furniture to cars and dishes, you can easily find gently-used, less expensive alternatives to new items. Shop online or at your local thrift shop for some great deals.

 Use your library.

If you’re like most people, the library is a place you haven’t seen the inside of since you were a kid. It’s an undervalued and underused resource. Stop buying books, DVDs, even video games and eBooks; start getting them free from your library. Your library has other free resources too. Many have business centers where you can research how to start a business and get free advice. Most libraries have computers and Wi-Fi you can use for free too.

Being frugal doesn’t have to hurt, but it can be the best way to save money for your future. You don’t have to go to extremes, but if you take on these essential habits of frugal people, you can save money painlessly.