I really believe that frugality is a learned behavior. It’s something that’s either taught at a young age by frugal parents and then handed down generation to generation. Or, people have made the conscious to become frugal either through circumstances that changed (such a job loss) or the desire to get out of debt and build savings.
Either way, there are things that frugal people do daily. These habits are the building blocks to both intentional finances and a solid savings account. (That might be the most boring sentence I have ever typed. But hang with me, will you?)
Today I wanted to share a few things that frugal people do on a daily basis.
1. Frugal people don’t waste
Frugal people know the value of a dollar and don’t want to waste those dollars unintentionally. So frugal people don’t waste water on a half full washing machine or gasoline on unnecessary trips to the supermarket.
Yesterday I scraped the last of the peanut butter out of the jar with a rubber spatula. It was a smattering of peanut butter that wouldn’t amount to much, but I didn’t want to waste the half a cent worth of peanut butter (hyperbole). I scooped it out and gave it to Ryals as a snack. He loved it.
Food waste is also a huge issue for the frugal. Did you know Americans throw away almost half of the food we buy? (source) That’s disgusting. So the truly frugal meal plan and consume leftovers.
2. Frugal people question purchases
Frugal people don’t just throw things in their carts at Target. (Well sometimes I do but that’s another story…) Frugal people ask themselves a few questions before making purchases.
1. Do I really need this?
2. Do I have something else that will serve the same function?
3. Where am I going to put it?
4. Can I get it for a better price elsewhere?
3. Frugal people shop smart
A lot of people think they will save the most money by buying in bulk. And while bulk shopping can save money, frugal people do the math. Next time you're at your supermarket or savings club, pull out the calculator function on your smartphone, see if you're really getting the best deal per unit or per ounce.
Sometimes that bulk deal isn’t as great as you think it is.
4. Frugal people find a coupon code
Before I purchase ANYTHING online I do a quick Google search for a coupon code. Whether I am buying a sweater or a fridge I look for a code. I save as much as 30% on purchases this way. I also use Ebates to save cash too.
If you’re not familiar with Ebates, it’s a rebate website that offers cash back on purchases made through their site. You can save money at places like iTunes, Old Navy, and even Amazon.
5. Frugal people find free fun
I have talked about this a lot, but our family saves a lot of money using the library. While I still love ebooks and buy them regularly, our family saves over $1,000 a year using the library. We save money on books and movies, but also family fun. Our kids enjoy puppet shows, holiday parties, and carnivals. We also love the splash pad at our local park and visiting the public beach.
Even if your community doesn’t offer a ton of community activities there is still a lot of free fun to have as a family simply by heading outside with a frisbee.
6. Frugal people don’t need things new
I cannot tell you how much money my family has saved buying things used. Everything from cars to highchairs. Our local Goodwill is a great place to find clothes and toys for my kids. And we have purchased and sold lots of things on Craigslist.
We often end up paying just 20 percent of the original purchase price of the items we are buying.
7. Frugal people think long term
Just because it’s June doesn’t mean you can't shop for Christmas. Or if your child’s birthday is in October it doesn’t mean you can’t think about gifts in March. If you know someone on your future shopping list might love an item and it’s already at a great price, pick it up.
For example, I knew my mom wanted a glass drink dispenser because she mentioned it in June. So when I saw one on sale in September, I picked it up and gave it to get for Christmas. Thinking long-term or longer term, in this case, saves us big bucks when the holiday season rolls around.
What about you? Do you have any frugal habits?