15 Frugal Habits You Need in Your Life
Frugal living used to be practiced from necessity. Now? Frugality is almost trendy as more and more people embrace a less wasteful, more mindful existence.
Living frugally doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice everything you love, however. Truly wealthy people often embrace frugality while also enjoying the finest things in life. These things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Looking to be more frugal in your daily life? Ahead, find some easy frugal tips anyone can copy.
1. Use everything until it dies
Have you ever seen someone with a six-figure salary driving a beat-up Toyota Camry? There’s a reason for that.
People who practice frugality as they build wealth know that using an item to its full potential is crucial. That’s why spending a little more on a high-quality item is usually cheaper in the long run. Whether it’s a car, a cup, or a couch, using things until they wear out is an important part of being frugal.
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2. Pay yourself first
Putting money into savings accounts and investment accounts rather than using those funds for entertainment may seem like no fun at all. But the future version of yourself will certainly appreciate this form of frugality.
It’s not that you can’t ever have fun – just be sure to save money before you do.
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3. Don’t max out your mortgage
You might be approved for a large amount of money for your mortgage – but that doesn’t mean you should spend it all.
Homebuyers commonly borrow as much as they can when they’re house shopping, which can lead to being cash poor or even underwater on your finances if you’re not careful. A better option? Take the frugal road and only buy as much house as you can really, truly, comfortably afford regardless of how much you get approved for.
Next: This is the golden rule of frugality.
4. Never pay full price
The beauty of living a frugal life is that you quickly learn how to score discounts on high-quality merchandise. Frugality demands that you avoid paying full price for anything unless you absolutely have to. Pick up your grill and patio furniture during end-of-summer sales and score deeply discounted holiday décor in the weeks following that event.
It’s all about knowing when to shop – and when not to.
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5. Learn some new skills
Hobbies make you a more well-rounded individual. Some hobbies may even pay you back.
Learning minor household or car repair tasks in your spare time could save you thousands on contractor or mechanic fees. The more you know how to do, the less money you’ll have to spend hiring professionals.
Next: Cutting out this one thing can save you tons of money.
6. Don’t go out to eat (too often)
Going out for a nice meal that someone else cooks is a joy that no one should have to sacrifice. But dining at restaurants several times per week – even cheap ones – is a sure way to spend too much money on food. The most frugal families save dining out for special occasions and cook at home more often than they dine at restaurants.
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7. Keep an emergency fund
No matter how much money you have, unexpected expenses can pop up at any point and put a real dent in your savings account. Experts don’t always agree on how much you should have in your emergency fund, but one thing’s indisputable – you need to have one.
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8. Use credit card rewards
They say nothing in life is free, but in the case of credit card rewards, you might as well get what you deserve. Using credit cards for most purchases and then paying them off at the end of the month is a smart way to take advantage of perks without going into debt. Frugal folks take advantage of all the “free” stuff they can get from credit card companies.
Next: Frugal people never do this one thing.
9. Stop gambling
Lottery tickets, slot machines, craps tables – no matter how you gamble, you’re almost guaranteed to lose. Frugal-minded people avoid frivolous, costly activities like gambling and they never play the lottery. Instead, they invest extra money into tangible things.
Next: You have to take this crucial step when you’re being frugal.
10. Plan ahead to avoid splurging
The best way to spend less money is by planning out both large and small purchases. Budget for regular expenses like groceries and do your research before buying large items, like new appliances. Frugality doesn’t mean you never spend money – it simply means that when you do drop some cash, you always get the best bargain.
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11. Make a commitment
The easiest way to veer off course on your path to frugality? Letting yourself fall back on old habits. Instead, ask someone like a friend, spouse, or loved one to be your accountability partner. You’ll be much less likely to waste money if you know someone will call you out on it.
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12. Never brag that something was expensive
Making a big deal because something cost a fortune is so gauche. Instead, practice bragging about the incredible bargains you scored while hunting clearance racks or thrift stores. It’ll put you in a sale-hunting mindset and may even inspire others to follow your lead.
Next: Don’t be too hard on yourself.
13. Learn from your mistakes
Frugality doesn’t happen overnight. If you’ve been spending most of your life making questionable financial decisions, then it’s unrealistic to expect to change your ways without some effort. Even if you give in to temptation and buy something frivolous, there’s no need to beat yourself up. You can always start over.
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14. Be stingy – in a good way
People who have money don’t typically like to spend it. Even people who can afford daily Starbucks habits limit their visits and brew coffee at home. Sure, five dollars per day won’t affect the bottom line much – but that frugal state of mind applies to all purchases big and small.
Cultivating frugality means being stingy in all areas of life.
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15. Know when to splurge
Certain things are worth the extra cost. Being frugal means knowing that a more expensive washing machine today means you won’t have to replace it quickly, which could end up costing more money anyway. Save money when you can, spend it on worthy items, and get on your way to a new, frugal lifestyle.