31 Oct

Written by Admin on October 31, 2008

The advice for being frugal is really the same as for investing: spend less (buy low) than you make (sell high). Pretty simple, right? And it’s not really all that hard if you can adjust your thinking.

Here are some tips¬†for being frugal while still being able to enjoy life. Obviously, not all tips will appeal to everyone, though there should be something in here that’ll get you started on a building a frugal mindset. If frugality is just not for you, go enjoy a site like Luxist.

  1. Adopt a “savings” mindset. It’s not a sin to be frugal. Don’t agonize over your frugality. If it helps, set aside a few dollars each paycheck or each month, so that you can “justify” your other frugality activities emotionally. So actually make it a goal to save towards something – a short vacation or simply your retirement funds. Save with the future in mind, not just for next month. Yeah, it’s a chore to spend time planning, but think about the alternative: being broke and frustrated.
  2. Get a nice rental apartment. Do you absolutely need to agonize over a mortgage? A house is always nice, but if you can delay a few years with a nice rental place, you’ll likely be better off. You might think you’re “paying just as much” while renting, but there are all kinds of other costs of home ownership that need to be factored in.
  3. Ditch the land phone. If you have a computer, a microphone/ speakers (or headset) and a fast Internet connection, use VoIP software such as Skype or Sightspeed instead. You can even use VoIP as a makeshift surveillance system, though you’ll have to leave your computer on.
  4. Ditch the TV. Watch shows online or use a TV capture card on your computer. This allows you to record shows to your hard drive and watch them remotely, too, with free timeshifting software such as Orb.
  5. Text message. Instead of making voice calls on your cell phone, get a Text Messaging plan for a little bit more cost and use that with willing friends. When you’re at home, use Instant Messaging chat software or email.
  6. Buy a recently used car. Less depreciation and should be running better than an old clunker.
  7. Don’t get married. Okay, do, but don’t spend thousands on a wedding. If a civil ceremony isn’t romantic enough, consider a small wedding and reception. If you can enlist friends and family members to make things (decorations, bridal accessories), you’ll save significantly.
  8. Bathe with your significant other. Take the occasional bubble bath. (Most guys just pretend they don’t like bubble baths, but if they have a friend in the tub, it’s a whole different story.)
  9. Read in daylight. Just a preference but natural light seems more agreeable for reading. Saves on electric bills, unless you’re staying up late for other reasons.
  10. Ditch disposable razors. Disposable blades (and a good handle) or an electric razor will stand you in good stead and save money over a year [Item #6 of 43]. You could skip shaving on weekends, too.
  11. Do your own manicures. Why spend $$ when you can do it yourself for nothing? Get a good emery board and decent nail clippers.
  12. Grow your own… Herbs, mushrooms, or some vegetables. Just a small planter, barrel or (mushroom) log is enough, and you can usually do all this in small spaces. There are tons of websites that’ll tell you how.
  13. Skip the soda. Do the math and you’ll find that most of the time, brand name soda pop costs more per gallon than petrol (gasoline). You already know how healthy soda isn’t. Fruit Juice can taste just as refreshing if you add a bit of tonic water or plain soda to it. OJ and ginger ale on a 50/50 mix goes well together, too.
  14. Mix your own drinks. This applies to both alcoholic or non. It’s cheaper and you get more variety to try out.
  15. If you can’t skip the coffee, get a good coffee maker and a warming mug and save your self $$$ each year.
  16. Don’t buy bulk. Unless you’re actually eating the item before you see it on sale. Studies show that you’re much more likely to quickly use up a food item in a bulk container than if you just buy regular-sized containers.
  17. Buy some items in bulk. House cleaning and hygiene products can be purchased in bulk, and the latter can be put in fancy (but inexpensive) containers – possibly purchased at garage sales.
  18. Walk to local garage sales. Have a cash budget and only buy if you find something you really need, not just “want.”
  19. Stop buying brand names. There are some food items where “generic” just tastes terrible, but most of the time that’s not true.
  20. Skip store-bought candy. Make your own sweet snacks at home. Recipes abound online, and most are fairly easy. If you do your laundry on Sundays, say, you can make a few snacks while your clothes are spinning.
  21. Buy clothes on sale. If you need to be fashionable for work, you can sometimes find great bargains at local designer boutiques in off-season. Department stores do the same for off-season clothes.
  22. Use cash. ATM/debit transactions usually cost you more. Take out enough cash to last you a week or two. Track your expenses in a spreadsheet or some free personal finance software so that you’ll know how much cash you need.
  23. Visit a library. Libraries have books, magazines, CDs and DVDs there for the borrowing.
  24. Rotate home parties. Going out is expensive, but if you and a few friends have a weekly rotation about who is hosting, and all contribute a bit towards it, you can still have (semi-)weekly entertainment without going broke. Share a bottle of wine, snacks and a movie.
  25. Go out and don’t drink. If you “have to” go out, drink at home first with friends, share a cab, and find clubs without a cover charge. then just have a non-alcoholic drink and “nurse” that all night.
  26. Check the free listings. Not only do most cities and larger towns have free weekly newspapers that list goings on (and jobs), there are often free events at all times of year. Don’t forget local listings online. A few minutes spent browsing either way can probably find you fun, cheap/ free entertainment for the week or weekend.
  27. Volunteer. It’s not just charity organizations that need volunteers. In bigger cities, there are opera houses that look for volunteer ushers. If you like the idea of free live music while you help people to and from their seats, check it out.
  28. Ditch the lottery tickets. Or if you need a bit of excitement, pool together with a few people at work or with neighbours.
  29. Study online. Seriously, many top universities now have their reading materials available free online. This is great if you want to build on top of your existing knowledge.
  30. Work out at home. Don’t pay gym fees (and the cost of workout clothes) if you’re not going. Or jog through a fancy neighborhood.

One Comment

  1. 1

    Karens Shop
    June 11th, 2009

    great now if only I could fit into any of these designer labels I would be most happy

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