I try to save money anywhere I can. It’s become a goal for me to see how much I can save in everything I do. Whether it’s grocery shopping or paying bills, if I can save a buck, I’m happy. Now, I’m not saying I always save money. It takes effort to organize shopping trips, clip coupons and figure out which store has the best deals when. Sometimes I get lazy or really want something that isn’t such a great deal. In those instances, I go with it and tell myself it’s okay. Living frugally doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself, it just means you do what you can to save as much as you can as often as you can. Opportunities to save abound in all aspects of life; it’s how you use those opportunities that make the difference. Here are my top ten steps to begin living frugally.
1. Use the Library
If you like to read or watch movies, the library is the place to go. Most individual libraries are part of a large group of libraries giving them access to just about any book or movie ever made. I haven’t spent one penny on a book or movie in years, but always have a book on hand at all times.
2. Clip Coupons
This step is a biggie. I’m sure you’ve probably seen or at least heard about the show Extreme Couponing. While I don’t use coupons to that extent, they do save me a great deal of money, especially on items I wouldn’t normally buy but would like to have. My kids love that I use coupons because a lot of the food they want is expensive, but with coupons, I can afford to buy it for them once in a while. If you really want to save with coupons, check store flyers for sales and match your coupons with the sales for maximum savings.
3. Eat out Less Often
I know everyone is busy, but eating out is neither healthy nor cheap. We actually plan a night out to eat once or twice a month and then cook at home the rest of the time. We used to eat out a few times a week, so we’re seeing a huge savings by sticking to this rule.
4. Use Online Bill Pay
Save a stamp and pay your bills online. Alternatively, you can pay your bills in person when you’re out and about, too. I know the price of a stamp sounds insignificant, but ultimately, it is money saved, and time, too.
5. Group Errands
This is a no-brainer and something most people do anyway, but if you have several errands to run, make it a point to group the ones that are closest to each other together. You’ll save gas and time.
6. Make Homemade Cleaners
The Internet is full of recipes for homemade cleaners, and let me tell you, they work better than store-bought ones. White vinegar is the ultimate in household cleaning, and is very inexpensive. I use it all the time in all areas of my house.
7. Find Freebies
The Internet is full of freebies, too. I spend about an hour a week seeking out free offers online. Going to the mailbox every day is like Christmas for me. There’s always something new, exciting and free in there!
8. Use Cold Water
Save electricity and the life of your hot water heater by washing your clothes in cold. I know some people say they don’t get as clean, but really, they do. I add a half cup of white vinegar to every load and the clothes come out looking fabulous.
9. Turn off the Lights
In my house, if you’re not in the room, the light had better be off. That goes for TVs, computers and anything else that runs on electric. As a matter of fact, we even shut our cable box off at night because even though you’re not watching TV, it continues to draw electricity to do updates. By being adamant about turning off lights, we’ve cut our electric bill by about $20 a month!
10. Do your Own Car Maintenance
I’m no mechanic, but I can change the oil in my car. It can cost as much as $50 or more just to have your oil changed at one of those quickie lube places. I refuse to pay that. I learned how to change the oil and fill the fluids and save myself a ton of money.
Saving money is a lifestyle for me. I enjoy telling others how to do it, too. The key to the whole thing is identifying the opportunities to save. You don’t have to start cutting back on everything. Choose one or two areas to start and work your way up. It won’t be long before you’re saving money without even trying.
What other ways could help you with living frugally? Tell us in the comments!
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