There are a lot of tips out there about living frugally, but they can be hard to implement. Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice your happiness to live below your means. Here are some practical tips you can use to save money.
1. Have a 48-Hour Rule
Imposing logical rules on yourself is a practical way to determine if you want to make a specific purchase. It can be helpful to have a 48-hour rule: If you find something you want to buy, wait at least 48 hours. If you still want it, try waiting another day.
You might be surprised at how few things pass the test!
2. Look At Everything as Time Spent, Not Money
Sometimes it’s critical to shift your perspective and not look at spending in terms of dollars and sense. Instead, look at it as time potentially spent.
For example, if you make $15/hour, it will take five hours of work to save up for a $75 purchase—five hours you’ll never get back. Is that new gadget worth it?
3. Utilize an Amazon Wishlist
I can’t tell you how much money my girlfriend has saved over the past six months by placing items on Amazon in her wishlist instead of the shopping cart. She explains it helps fight against impulse shopping and gives her time to think about all purchases made on the site.
4. Consider Why You Buy Sale Items
If you’re constantly buying things when they’re on sale because they’re a “good deal,” ask yourself if you’d buy the same item if it were full-priced. If the answer is no, you don’t actually need that item—because if you did, you’d already have purchased it at full price! This kind of logic is crucial to embrace a frugal lifestyle fully.
5. Cook at Home
Although it’s easier said than done, there are countless benefits to preparing meals and eating at home. Most people are stunned when they see how much they spent eating out in a given month—and are equally shocked when they cook at home for a month and realize the impressive savings they’ve accrued!
6. Remove Quick-Payment Methods
If you are looking for ways to cut back on impulse buys when shopping online, here’s a clever hack that frugal people employ: Remove your payment methods from your favorite websites and apps! Having to manually input your credit card info can be a great deterrent to excess spending.
7. Stop Drinking Alcohol
Like dining out, most people are surprised to find out how much they spend on alcoholic beverages each month. Often, these people realize they could afford a new car payment if they stopped drinking alcohol. When combined with its obvious health benefits, abstaining from alcohol is one of the most frugal tips ever.
8. Frequent the Library
Surprisingly, there’s a lot of value to be had visiting your local public library. These days, libraries carry more than just books — from the latest movies to community activities, the library has transitioned into an entertainment hub. Did I mention all of it is free?
9. Only Pay With Cash
Credit card debt is one of the main roadblocks to financial wellness for millions of Americans. Therefore, if you can, only pay for things in cash. That way, you can only ever spend however much cash you have on you.
It also makes spending more visible; if you always pay for things virtually, you won’t see the money physically leaving your pocket.
10. Use Credit Cards With Rewards
If you are forced to use credit cards to pay for products and services, that’s okay! However, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not utilizing a credit card that gives cash-back or other rewards with regular use. If you must use a credit card, you might as well get rewarded for it, right?