How Can I Be More Frugal?

Being more frugal requires a certain amount of
self-discipline. Some people naturally have discipline and some people don’t. If you don’t, it’s something you can work on. I’ve seen plenty of people learn how to be more frugal after going through spiraling debt problems or bankruptcy. While being frugal might not be as much fun, you’re certainly going to feel no pain practicing frugality.

A lot of times, being frugal is just a matter of controlling spending urges. That’s what I’m going to focus on here today. You just have to trim unnecessary spending and unneeded expenses out of your
personal budget. When you eliminate several of the following expenses at one time, the money equivalent you start to add to your monthly budget starts to add up. If you don’t want to be completely frugal, at the very least choose some of the following frugality tips and help your pocket book out a little bit.

How Can I Be More Frugal When Shopping?

Stop Impulse Buying – Impulse buying is one of the quickest ways to waste money. You see something you want, so you charge it to your
credit card. Most of the time, an impulse buy is something you don’t need anyway. The fact that you hadn’t included it on a list of things to buy tells you that you really don’t need the item.

So make a rule to stop impulse buying. Only buy those things that you need and are looking to buy. Remember, even if it’s on sale, if you don’t need it, you are still wasting money.


Stop Online Impulse Buys – It’s probably easier to make impulse buys on the
Internet than it is in stores. For one, you’re likely to be on the Internet more often than in a department store. Given that you’re online shopping is built to be easy point-and-click shopping, it’s extremely easy to charge up your credit card through online shopping.

Once again, when you decide to shop online, make certain to have a list and do not deviate from that list. Also, set certain times or days that you will shop online. Make certain that you don’t shop just anytime, but perhaps every two weeks or one a month. This limits the opportunities you’ll have to make a regrettable purchase.

frugal-living-for-dummiesLower Your Credit Limit – Throw away all but one or two of your credit cards. You may look at extra credit cards as an asset, but they really are a hindrance to your economic well-being. If you have five credit cards with thousands of dollars in credit limits each, you have a credit ceiling that is probably out of line with what you can comfortably pay.

If that’s the case, then having those high credit limits is a temptation to get in over your head financially. You don’t need that kind of credit and, in fact, the only outcome of using that credit is to put yourself in major debt and risk bankruptcy. So cut back to one or two essential credit cards, so you don’t have the temptation to max out your credit.
(See also:
How to
Repair Your Credit Rating

How Can I Be More Frugal In My Dining Habits?

Eat Out Less – The average person spends several thousand dollars per year eating out. When you and your spouse and children eat out often, that’s a huge expense in your monthly household budget. It’s cheaper to dine in and make your own food.

It gets old eating the same meals over and over, even if they are good, tasty meals. So try to find new recipes online and try out new meals once or twice a week. Keep the ones you like and move on to new recipes.

Also, consider putting together a weekly menu, so you can do all your weekly shopping for dinner food at one time. This allows you to plan ahead and buy cheaper.

Take a Lunch to Work – One of the best ways to eliminate the dining out experience is to avoid eating out at work. It’s fun to go out with your work pals and relax, but that adds up to a huge expense if you dine out for lunch every day. Take a prepared meal for your lunch at work and save the rare times you dine out for time with the family.

Eat Smarter When You Dine Out – Most restaurants over-serve food. They serve too much to eat. So when you and your spouse go out to eat, prepare for the restaurant to over-serve you. Buy one meal and one appetizer and share them between the two of you. The appetizers are just as tasty, but usually a little cheaper than the meal.

Get the “To-Go” Box – When you do dine out, make certain to get the to-go box for leftovers. These make nice treats the next day, and you are essentially halving the cost of the meal you
paid, because it is stretching into two meals.

Skip Dessert – Don’t get dessert when you go out to eat. Dessert usually costs about half what a meal costs. If you and your spouses each buy dessert, you are essentially buying a third meal. Besides, it’s not healthy to overindulge in a dessert helping that’s much too large for you anyway. If your meal was large enough, you’re probably not going to get full enjoyment of your meal, because you’re already stuffed.

How Can I Be More Frugal With My Entertainment Dollar?

Netflix or
Blockbuster Online
– If you and your family rent a bunch of DVD and videos every month, you can save on your video rental bills by becoming a member of Blockbuster Online or Netflix. You pay a specific monthly fee for unlimited rentals. You can have out a certain number of rentals according to your membership plan (three is a standard membership). For $16.99 a month through Netflix, you have unlimited movie rentals for you and your family.

Once you’re finished watching the movie, just put it in the mail and you’ll have your next choice two days later.

Check Books Out from the Library – People who read a lot end up spending a lot of money at, Borders, Hastings or Barnes & Noble for books. Even if you go to some place like Half-Price Books, you end up buying more than you can read and end up with stacks of books laying around your house – or in your attic. So use your local library and check out books for free. You’ll save on money and space around the house.

Cancel Magazine Subscriptions – You can do the same with magazines you read every month. Libraries offer the same magazines you read. And if you want the convenience of your own handy magazine, then cancel all magazine subscriptions for magazines you get every month, but hardly ever read. You know whether you read a magazine or not, so cancel the ones you’re no longer interested in.

How Can I Be More Frugal By Getting Healthy?

Stay Healthy – Start exercising and get in shape. While healthy people get sick, too, staying fit and healthy does eliminate a lot of medical bills you would otherwise have. There are few expenses more expensive than medical bills, so try to save on health related expenses by retaining as much of your good health as possible.

Drink More Water
– Drinking water is healthy, and it also is cheaper. Instead of buying a soft drink or mixed drink when you dine out, order a water instead. This clears the palette better and helps you taste the food you’re paying good money for. Also, instead of buying that decaf mocha latte, buy a bottled water instead. It’s not as much of a treat, but you’ll find yourself feeling healthier and saving at $2 every time you get a drink in the car.

Quit Smoking – This is easier said than done, and I know that me telling you to quit smoking is probably not going to convince you, but smoking is an expensive habit. If you smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, you’re spending $10 a day on your smoking habit. By the end of the years, you’re spending $3,650 on cigarettes alone.

Obviously, a non-smoker is likely to have fewer medical bills than a smoker, too. And when a smoker does have a medical condition, it’s likely to be complicated by your smoking habit, so I couldn’t really have a “healthy and frugal” section without suggesting that smokers stop smoking.