A lot of people are interested in frugal living and saving cash. However, not all of them have the determination and discipline to reach their financial goals. Check out this article for a list of habits you should adopt if you’re looking to spend less money and boost savings.
People have become more interested in frugal living in the past few years. With prices on the rise and the job market as competitive as ever, there’s no wonder we’re all doing our best to set money aside for rainy days. But while spending less and saving more may seem simple in theory, bad money habits are hard to break.
I should know – I used to be a chronic big spender. Before I met my husband, I was living paycheck to paycheck, impulse buying all kinds of things I didn’t need, and barely saving a penny for the future. He’s a saver though, and he slowly introduced me to his world of budgeting and planning for long-term financial goals. It was a troublesome transition, but I eventually learned how important it is to put thought into where your money goes.
Now, our biggest financial goal is to save enough money to retire early and travel the world together. It’s a big one, so we really needed to start cutting back on expenses and save as much as possible. My parents are a big inspiration to us – they both retired early and relocated from Boston to Quechee Lakes, a charming community in Vermont. Now, they spend their days doing exactly what they love – my dad golfs, my mom paints. They’re happier than I’ve ever seen them. If that’s us in 10 years, I will be eternally grateful.
To achieve our objective though, we had to re-evaluate our lifestyle and figure out even more ways to keep our expenses to a minimum. Here are 10 habits that helped us really cut back on spending.
Use Everything to The Last Drop
Don’t waste stuff. That’s just money thrown down the drain. Meal plan to make sure you won’t end up throwing out any leftovers, turn the ketchup bottle upside down to use it to the last tasty drop, extend our dish soap with a little bit of water. View it as a challenge, and not as an extreme measure to save cash. Once it becomes a habit, you will be surprised with how much waste you can prevent by making the most of your purchases.
I and my husband are extremely sociable people, but we don’t like to go out that much. We prefer to have friends over and organize game nights and potluck dinners. Eating out is never on the table, since we both love cooking so much. We opt for a movie marathon at home instead of an expensive trip to the multiplex. Going out costs money, so learn how to appreciate the time spent in the comfort of your own house. Alternatively, look for free or cheap entertainment around the city – festivals, free concerts, and so on.
If an appliance is broken, don’t head out to buy a new one. Fix it. Sew that tear in your shirt. Repair your broken furniture. Don’t instantly think new. Learn to appreciate what you already have.
Go the Low-Tech Way
Air dry your clothes instead of using the dryer. Put on a sweater instead of turning up the heart. Turn off the light when you’re watching a movie. All these little changes can result in big savings as time goes by.
Whenever you need to buy something, see if you can’t but it used first. This goes for everything from clothes to appliances to furniture. Check Craiglist and Freecycle and take a tour of all the thrift shops in the area. If you don’t need the item long-term, borrow it. There’s no need to spend money on an extra sleeping bag you need for your camping trip when you can just ask around to see if your friends can’t lend you one for a couple of days.
When we splurge, we do it on experiences instead of things. We take a trip, book a couple’s massage, or check in at a bed and breakfast nearby for a cozy weekend. Gather memories instead of receipts.
Always have your end goal in mind – whether we’re talking about retiring early, buying a new car, or sending your kids to a good college. Thinking long-term is the biggest thing that separated frugal people from big spenders. Visualize how happy and accomplished you will feel once you finally make that dream come true. That unique feeling of pride? That’s what you’re working towards.