Frugal living does not mean shopping in thrift stores and having soup every night for dinner. Being frugal simply means being deliberate in how you spend money, not impulsive. There are many ways to be frugal but the key to making frugal lifestyle changes permanent is to find ways to save money that will work for you.
Some Frugal Lifestyle Choices
Automate paying your bills. By automating your bills you will ensure bills are paid on time avoiding late fees and negatively impacting your credit rating.
Automate your savings. By paying yourself first you ensure that your savings goals are taken care of before discretionary spending. Even if it is simply setting up a monthly transfer from your checking account to your savings account you are more likely to spend less simply because it is more difficult to access your money.
Eat out one time less per week. By eating out one time less per week you can save $25-$100+ per month. Saving $25 per week can add up to over $1200 per year for a typical employee.
Get rid of the land line. Cutting the land line results in immediate savings however there are some downsides such as some 911 services may have trouble locating you in an emergency.
Adjust payroll withholdings. Receive tax refund over $1000 last year? Adjust withholdings and use the savings to fund a wealth building account.
Obtain your credit report from annualcreditreport.com and check for errors. Pay bills on-time and manage your credit properly for preferred credit terms and lower interest rates.
Sign up for monthly equalizer payments with your utility. This will even out your monthly utility payments over 12 months and if possible take the difference between your old bill and new bill and put the difference in savings.
Use personal finance software and apps. Apps such as Mint or PageOnce help you to stay on top of your finances and limit chances of overspending. If you have current checking account and budget information available on your SmartPhone, you are more likely to not overspend.
Shop for a new car in November & December or better yet buy a quality used car and use the savings to fund your wealth building accounts.
Increase deductibles on Insurance. By increasing your deductible to $500 or $1000 you can lower your monthly premium. This strategy is not recommended for those with less than stellar driving records or those that do not have the cash to cover the deductible.
Perform preventative maintenance on home and automobiles. By performing schedules maintenance on your vehicle you will extend it’s life and reduce the likelihood for major repairs. The same is true for maintaining a home. Replace air filters to lessen the strain on the a/c blower and extend it’s life.
Cancel a magazine subscription and take your child to your local public library instead. While your child is looking for a book to checkout you can read a magazine for free.
Use Small Savings to Fund Wealth Building Accounts
By making small changes in spending habits you can end up with enough money to fund what I call a wealth building account. Wealth building accounts are accounts that are designed to grow your money and are typically online savings accounts but can be real property such as real estate or collectible automobiles.
Once you have a 3-6 month emergency savings account funded you can take your additional monthly savings and use it to fund a variety of wealth building accounts such as:
- Pay down credit card debt
- Max out your 401k Contribution
- Start a 529 College Savings Account
- Open a Roth IRA
- Invest in Real Estate
- Buy a Classic Automobile
The key to making a frugal lifestyle work for you is to make small changes and then leverage these savings into real wealth building opportunities.
What ways have you taken small savings and used them to build wealth?